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.”
This award for Sporting Excellence was voted for by you, and we thank you for taking the time to cast your vote.
Our finalists were:
Neil Heritage – founder of Climb2Recovery, a charity that supports wounded soldiers by using adventures and challenges to find purpose, Neil was the first double amputee to climb one of the world’s most daunting mountains.
Josh Boggi – a triple amputee, Josh completed the Race Across America in a record time, has won several medals at the Invictus Games and is a qualified PADI rescue diver as well as coaching his son’s football team.
Sally Orange – a highly accomplished sportswoman, during the pandemic alone, Sally completed 13 marathons, 3 Guinness World Records, a 1000 mile cycle and a 140.6 mile Iron distance triathlon – always dressed as a piece of fruit!
Jeffrey Long MBE – prolific walker Jeffrey set out on 13 March 2021, aged 89, completing a 190 mile charity walk in celebration of The Royal British Legion & Support Our Paras. Other triumphs include a 650 mile walk to Switzerland and a 12km assault course.
You can read more about these finalists here.
We are delighted to announce that the Winner is…
Josh Boggi sustained horrific injuries in 2010 while on tour in Afghanistan, resulting in the loss of three limbs. Nine years later, a near fatal road accident led to further amputation of part of his remaining stump. Josh contracted sepsis and was left fighting for his life. He spent 10 weeks in hospital, underwent 12 surgeries and 21 blood transfusions, and has only recently started to walk again.
Josh overcame these huge obstacles and never let them get him down. He doesn’t let his injuries define him, and most definitely does not let them stop him from trying anything.
A keen sportsperson, Josh completed the Race Across America in a record time of 6 days, 12 hours and 36 minutes. He took part in the Invictus Games in 2014 and 2016, proudly picking up several medals. Proficient on land and in the sea, Josh is a qualified PADI rescue diver; he fancied trying scuba diving while on his honeymoon and very quickly became addicted. Training with Deptherapy, he become the world’s first triple amputee rescue diver!
“Josh is a happy go lucky person with a huge network of friends, and he’s really starting to make a difference. From sitting on amputee advisory boards to taking part in medical science research projects, if he can help someone else, he will.”
Josh has recently become involved with the Generation R project, delivering inspirational talks to schools and colleges – something he is hugely passionate about. He also works with Casualty Resources, an organisation that provides real amputee actors for Casualty Simulation Training, and he’s a committee member of the CASEVAC Club, supporting those injured on Herrick and Telic operations.
Josh loves nothing more than taking his son to football training – where he coaches the team. He has shown that nothing is impossible and you really can achieve anything you want.
“I am incredibly proud of him and what he has achieved, he amazes me with his true determination and grit.”
Anna Boggi said:
“Josh doesn’t really understand the words ‘no’ or ‘I can’t’, which is why he’s done so many incredible challenges or events. When he said he was cycling across America I thought he was bonkers, but he did it, then he said he was going to become a scuba diver – a rescue diver – he just cracks on and does it!”
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…
Ivan Rowlett, Major Programmes Director, Be Military Fit:
“Physical exercise (in so many different forms) can be so important for a healthy lifestyle. It can also contribute to supporting mental wellbeing too. At BMF we are acutely aware of how important all this is and the role we can play. This is just one of the reasons we are so delighted to be associated with these awards.
“We also believe these Awards are tremendous for the community to showcase incredible endeavour that can provide role models for others in society. Well done to Ren and the XFE Team for delivering these amazing Awards.”
Bear Grylls is the Ambassador for this category.