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.

Ambassador SOA2021- Antony CottonCoronation Street favourite, actor Antony Cotton, compèred this, our second virtual award ceremony of the year, in style! 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.”

We’re delighted to announce that, for 2021,

The Patron’s Special Recognition Award goes to…

Defence Hindu Network


SOA2021 Patrons Special Recognition Award


The Defence Hindu Network (DHN) addresses 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 by highlighting that each of these groups has different needs and provides appropriate levels of pastoral support to members.

The network’s wide-ranging support includes bolstering chaplaincy support to help members through lockdown and helping LGBTQ+ networks to address the challenges of recruitment for transgender people. It supports members facing challenges in their careers, with an allocated officer to assist and provide independent, objective support throughout these stressful periods.

The network’s evidence-based method of approaching different age groups of Hindus has been key to allowing the team to shape the way that the Armed Forces engages with Hindu communities. By understanding what their knowledge gaps are and where their concerns lie, these have been addressed through engagement and educational events. As an example, the network recently delivered an Armed Forces Career fair to 1000 students.

“The DHN is proud of its coaching and mentoring programme, engaging extensively with Hindu faith schools, including debates, focus groups and forums to gather information and influence opinions within the community.”

On an even wider scale, the DHN formed the Defence Faith Networks Forum (DFNF) from six world faith networks, bringing together their shared views and delivering an agreed list of priorities to work in a mutually beneficial manner. This approach has been hailed as best practice which the MOD is planning to replicate through a greater use of similar forums.

“The network is passionate about addressing why there is under-representation in the Armed Forces from a community that is genuinely supportive of our troops.”

On behalf of the Defence Hindu Network, Ashok Rao, said:

Thank you very much – really touched. Many people on these awards nights are all volunteers and don’t seek recognition for what they do, but the importance of Soldiering On Awards in recognising the hard work of all these volunteers across the armed forces community is great. People are doing a lot of work in their own time and it’s really nice to go back to our committee with this brilliant news. It means a lot.”  

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.


The next two Thursdays will see the other winners revealed during exciting Zoom events.  If you’d like to join the audience, please email

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