Tonight, Thursday 14th October, was a very special night for the finalists of our second group of award categories, and these nominees were literally sitting on the edges of their seats.
This evening we proudly announced the winners of the Education, Training and Development, Defence Inclusivity, Sporting Excellence and the Patron’s Special Recognition Awards in the second Soldiering On Awards 2021 virtual ceremony.
The Zoom event was hosted by Antony Cotton.
The ceremony was also attended by the Category Finalists and Sponsors, Patron Of the Soldering on Awards, the Rt. Hon. Earl Howe, Independent Veterans Advisor to UK Government Ministers at Cabinet Office, David Richmond CBE, and Colonel Commandant of Essex Army Cadet Force, Colonel Leona Barr-Jones.
As the winners found out, the news was simultaneously shared across social media channels.
The Earl Howe, Patron of the Soldiering On Awards said:
“These Awards recognise and acknowledge the enormous efforts and achievements from many people across the military community who help and support those in need; volunteers, charity teams, public servants, social enterprises, veterans themselves, individuals, employees… the wider military community is incredibly diverse!
“That help and support manifests itself in acts of kindness, the raising of money, provision of services, tremendous acts of courage or endeavour and ultimately doing great things to support those who have served.
“Our service men and women take part in military campaigns at the behest of the Government and on behalf of us all. They deserve not only our respect and thanks, but also our support. Thank you to all our finalists, many of whom are veterans themselves, for being exemplar in providing that support.”
Our finalists were:
Compass Network – improving the lived experiences of LGBT+ sailors and marines, it supports people of all sexual orientations and gender identities across the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Maritime Reserve and Royal Fleet Auxiliary.
Defence Hindu Network – addressing the needs of Hindus in Defence, as well as within the wider community, it influences the way in which the Army engages with BAME communities.
Emma Norton –founder of the Centre for Military Justice (CMJ), providing legal services to current and former members of the Armed Forces, plsu bereaved families, who have suffered violence, harassment or abuse.
You can read more about these finalists here.
We are delighted to announce that the Winner is…
Emma Norton founded the Centre for Military Justice (CMJ) to provide legal services to current and former members of the Armed Forces who have suffered violence, harassment or abuse, plus bereaved families. Her challenging work has a strong focus on the welfare of serving and veteran personnel from minority groups.
In 2019, Emma took up the case of a Falklands veteran who had been court-martialled in the 1980’s for being homosexual. His medals had been taken away and good conduct badges removed from his uniform. Emma negotiated with the MoD for them to be returned to him by the Secretary of State for Defence, and he now wears them with pride.
Emma realised that hundreds of veterans had been similarly treated. In the 21 years since the ban on the open service of LGBT+ personnel was lifted, LGBT+ serving personnel are welcomed in every area of the Armed Forces. Emma has upheld the covenant for hundreds of veterans affected by this positive change. Her hard work encouraged the MoD to return medals to hundreds of people who had lived under the shadow of being dismissed in disgrace.
“Emma’s work has been a catalyst of remarkable change. She has helped develop understanding of the visceral hurt inflicted upon LGBT+ veterans and the enduring impact that the ban has had upon their lives.”
Emma’s work has helped LGBT+ military charity Fighting With Pride on its journey to seek reparations for those affected. This enables the protections of the Armed Forces Covenant to reach and welcome LGBT+ veterans back to the Armed Forces family.
“Emma’s work has brought hope to the community and helped Fighting with Pride on our journey to seek reparations for those affected. We feel Emma deserves recognition for being the catalyst of change.”
Emma Norton said:
“Thank you I am completely overwhelmed! My trustees are going to be so delighted! We were set up to provide advice and support to those in the Armed Forces community who have suffered serious wrongs. That might be LGBT+ veterans, women who have suffered sexual harassment or worse, victims of race discrimination, bereaved military families, and we provide legal advice, signposting and therapeutic support for them.”
Lt Colonel Ren Kapur MBE, CEO of X-Forces Enterprise and Soldiering On Awards said:
“We are delighted to congratulate these inspirational winners and it was incredibly special to gather everyone together and celebrate our amazing community after such a challenging 18 months.
“These virtual events have allowed us all to come together and celebrate once more, as we build-up to our glamorous in-person Gala Dinner on December 15th. Having not had the opportunity to celebrate in-person since 2019, this December will be the military gala dinner of the year and being able to have everyone together for a night of celebration is something that we’ve all needed for some time. I’m very much looking forward to shining a light on the incredible armed forces community.
A word from our Sponsor…
Mark Neill, Managing Director at Landmarc Support Services, said,
“Landmarc’s responsibility as a partner to the Armed Forces extends across all our activities. Sponsoring the Defence Inclusivity Award allows us to take this further by establishing a strong network with individuals who are championing greater diversity and inclusion throughout the Armed Forces Community so that we can learn from their experiences.
“The finalists this year, as every year, have gone through an incredibly thorough and rigorous judging process, to get this point, and we are very proud to be with them here tonight.”
TV’s beloved Coronation Street star Antony Cotton is the Ambassador for this category; you can read about his support for the Soldiering On Awards here.