Jamie steals the show at 2019 Soldiering On Awards
The Soldiering On Awards celebrate the achievements of the military community, by honouring serving personnel, veterans, their families and the organisations that support them. Carol Vorderman, who is an Honorary Group Captain in the RAF, and former Royal Marine J.J. Chalmers hosted the evening at the Park Plaza Hotel, Westminster Bridge, and here we find out who was recognised this year …
This year’s Soldiering On Awards saw an audience of senior military personnel, celebrities and special guests inspired by the stories of people who have overcome rem
arkable adversity and those who are helping them achieve their goals.
Veteran’s son, 11-year-old Jamie Small, stole the night at the 2019 ceremony on 5 April. Jamie, whose dad took his own life after leaving the Army, was honoured with a Family Values Award at the prestigious event. He received the award in recognition of the fundraising he has done for military charity SSAFA, after they helped him and his mum following the death of his father. The money raised funds projects to help other veterans with PTSD, so no other family has to experience the grief Jamie has.
As they took to the stage to be presented with their trophy they received a full standing ovation and many guests were seen wiping away tears. Jamie’s mum, Mandy Small, said: ‘There are no words to describe how proud I am of Jamie right now and how much I love him. To be able to channel his grief at such a young age into helping others was inspirational, and to receive such recognition from the people he wants to help is something that he’ll remember for ever.’
As well as his award, Jamie was also presented with a signed shirt from his beloved Liverpool Football Club, which had been donated by the team. He is a big fan of the team his dad supported.
Also honoured with a Family Values Award was the War Widows Association. Former prisoner of war John Nichol collected the trophy on their behalf, in recognition of their outstanding work for the widows and widowers of those who die while serving their country.
Craig Monaghan, who suffered a traumatic brain injury during a tour of Afghanistan that saw him lose ten comrades, won the Sporting Excellence Award. Craig used sport to help him recover from his injuries and, after competing in the Warrior Games, has gone on to represent England in its Deaf Rugby Team. He is now running a programme at Rugby Union Club Sale Sharks, which has helped 125 veterans back in to sport.
On winning, Craig said: ‘To win this award is huge for me, it sums up a journey that is still ongoing. It is one that has led me from Chicago to Bulgaria competing for England and Great Britain. There have been many people who have helped me along the way, but if it wasn’t for Help for Heroes Sport Recovery I wouldn’t have found sport again, and also thanks to England Rugby for their support, and obviously my employers, Sale Sharks, who have been unreal in their support. Thank you everyone.’
The Inspiration Award was shared by double amputees Luke Sinnott and Nathan Cumberland. Retired Royal Engineers Captain Luke was injured in an IED explosion in Helmand Province. He joined the Invictus Games team and is now aiming for the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo. He also intends to fly to the South Pole with Flying for Freedom in 18 months’ time. Luke dedicated his award to his late Father-in-law, Bob, who passed away in January, and was a major support during his recovery.
The Inspiration Award was presented to Luke Sinnott (right) and Nathan Cumberland (left)
Recce Commander Nathan lost both legs and underwent 28 operations following a bomb blast in Afghanistan. After recovering from his injuries he joined the Defence Medical Welfare Service team, to help other veterans on their treatment journey. Nathan said: ‘Winning this award is a huge achievement, not only for me and the charity DMWS, but for everyone that has gone through a life-changing experience and has used that experience to help and support others fight their own challenges.’
Two Awards were voted for by the public: the Animal Partnership Award and the People’s Choice Award. The Animal Partnership trophy went to Scottish-based charity Bravehound, which provides life-long companions, enabling veterans with PTSD to lead a normal life and break social isolation. Fiona MacDonald, founder and CEO of Bravehound said: ‘We are honoured to receive this prestigious award. It means so much to all of us at Bravehound that so many people voted for us.’
Animal Partnership Award Winners – Bravehound
Project Semaphore won the People’s Choice Award. The Royal Naval Association initiative provides iPads to elderly veterans to help them connect with one another and their families far afield.
The Poppy Factory, which was founded almost 100 years ago, won the Healthcare and Rehabilitation Award.
This year, two new categories were introduced: the Defence Inclusivity Award and the Education, Training and Development Award.
Susan Coleman was stunned to collect the Defence Inclusivity prize for her work with The Royal British Legion as its champion for the LGBTQ+ community. The Education, Training and Development Award was presented to Walking with the Wounded for their work with the Essex Veterans Mental Health Team.
The Forces in Mind Trust – Working Together Award was won by Unforgotten Forces, run by Poppy Scotland, which brings together diverse charities to support elderly veterans in Scotland.
The Business of the Year: Start Up Award went to Network Training Partnerships, which provides training and recruitment solutions to the automotive and logistics industries.
UK Connect won the Business of the Year: Scale Up Award, after CEO P.J. Farr took just five years to turn his broadband connectivity company from a £1,000 investment to a multi-million-pound company.
A veteran who turned a bee-keeping hobby into a successful business, producing 200 tonnes of honey and training other veterans for jobs in the industry, won the Business of the Year: Community Impact prize. Sinah Common Honey has helped John Geden deal with his own mental health issues after serving in the police and military.
The Afghan Rug Shop was also Highly Commended. Founded by RAF officer James Wilthew, the shop is the only one outside of Afghanistan that sells solely genuine rugs and killims. They are made by families he met while serving in Helmand and support them with a sustainable income.
The Greenwich Hospital Lifetime Achievement Award was collected by Douglas Hern, a Royal Navy veteran who has dedicated the last 30 years of his life to supporting the British Nuclear Test Veterans Association, to ensure their sacrifice is never forgotten.
The Lifetime Achievement Award was collected by Royal Navy veteran Douglas Hern, seen here with his wife Sandie, BNTVA vice chair
Arts Ambassador Carly Paoli performed a special version of ‘You Raise Me Up’ in recognition of Remembered: There But Not There, in honour of all those who made the ultimate sacrifice during the First World War.
Lt Col Ren Kapur MBE, founder and CEO X-Forces Enterprise and co-chair of the Soldiering On Awards, said: ‘I am so delighted for all those high achievers, community advocates, champions, finalists and category winners we were able to acknowledge and celebrate at the 2019 Soldiering On Awards. They are all having a hugely positive impact, not only on the military community, but on wider society too. The support we receive to run this not-for-profit event is essential to the recognition that we give and I’m delighted to announce that we will continue to provide ongoing support to all our winners so that they can continue to raise the bar in whatever enterprise they choose. Over the coming 12 months they can access the X-Forces Enterprise support and growth network, and we will help to elevate these remarkable individuals and organisations until the torch is handed over to the rising stars of 2020, so the cycle can continue.’
Now in its ninth year, the Soldiering On Awards is the biggest Armed Forces Community Awards evening and this year’s winners will receive ongoing support to help them achieve and inspire the wider community.
Carol Vorderman and J.J. Chalmers presented the Awards evening
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