This special Award honours a person or group whose lifetime of dedicated service has provided a significant contribution in support of the Armed Forces Community.
The Award is generously sponsored by Greenwich Hospital, a unique Crown Charity. The Hospital provides charitable support including annuities, sheltered housing and education to serving and retired personnel of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, and their dependants.
“This is the second year Greenwich Hospital has had the privilege to recognise and support such a prestigious award to an individual who has shown exceptional service and dedication to our country. We are honoured to be sponsoring this Lifetime Achievement Award and we look forward to offering continued support and recognition of dedicated service heroes going forward.” Shakeela Bagus, Head of Charity, Greenwich Hospital
The Finalists for the Lifetime Achievement Award are:
Royal Air Force Veteran and SSAFA volunteer, Emlyn Phennah has dedicated his life to helping others. Emlyn left the RAF in 1968 having served for nine years with a dual career as a Ground Wireless Fitter and later as Aircrew. On retiring from his civilian job in the Telecoms Industry, he and his wife moved to Wales where, determined to help Veterans less fortunate than himself, Emlyn signed up to become a case worker for SSAFA.
Emlyn is now SSAFA’s Divisional Secretary, running a successful programme in Gloucestershire called Joining Forces, in collaboration with Age UK. This initiative organises events for Veterans born before 1950, their families and carers, plus Veterans who face loneliness and isolation – and the programme reaches an incredible 3,000 people. Emlyn liaises with other agencies, including the NHS and local government, to provide the coordinated support that Veterans need.
“Hundreds of people have been helped by Emlyn, be it practical need, a complex issue, or just to enjoy a bit of light in life again. He isn’t the CEO or Controller or a spokesperson. He does the ground work, often without thanks. And what a great job he does.”
In addition to offering individual support to Veterans, Emlyn and his colleagues from Age UK bring Veterans together socially through a Brunch Club in Stroud and a Coffee Morning in Gloucester. They also advertise Veterans’ Breakfast Clubs throughout the county, encouraging social interaction amongst the Veteran population in Gloucestershire.
Emlyn builds trust within his community to identify if anyone has any additional needs, and he travels across the county to identify Veterans who may need help, especially national service Vets who may not realise they can access support.
Emlyn’s project also has an inter-generational agenda; Veterans and local students meet to talk about the Veterans’ past experiences, putting them on record for future generations.
“Emlyn is a heroes’ hero, because he genuinely cares.”
Harold Payne owns a large Motel on the A17 at Fleet Hargate in Lincolnshire, which he runs with his wife and daughter. Within his restaurant he has established a museum to highlight World War II and, in particular, the Normandy Landings.
Harold holds many activities through the year, including an annual three-day military event on his fields with people dressed in WWII costumes. He welcomes many stalls and re-enactment societies to this event, and provides complimentary meals and refreshments for Veterans to ensure no Veteran is left out. During each afternoon there is a wonderful flypast from the Battle of Britain Squadron, and in the evening there’s live entertainment for all to enjoy all at Harold’s own cost.
For many years Harold also arranged and financially supported an annual trip to France for local Normandy Veterans. In 2019, Harold funded and organised for red roses to be placed on war graves in a crematorium. He brought his DKW across from England and took Veterans, ensuring that no Veteran was forgotten and that everyone was remembered for their service.
“Harold’s dedication to the military charities has meant that no Veteran is forgotten.”
Harold has worked tirelessly and unselfishly for military charities for the past 40 years, whilst also running his business. He has raised a staggering amount – over £800,000 which has been donated to the Anglia Regiment, RAF Coningsby and RAF Colsterworth, as well as local hospices and charities that serve the aging Veteran community. His work has changed the lives of thousands of Veterans.
Harold is an avid collector of military memorabilia. His motel forecourt proudly displays a number of military vehicles and armament. He also has a retired RAF Jet fighter, a DKW, navel torpedo and a number of artefacts. It’s a wonderful sight to see!
“As well as Veterans, Harold also supports serving personnel in the Armed Forces; his dedication to the cause is without question and he deserves recognition for the years of time, effort and hard work that he has put in.”
The Not Forgotten
The Not Forgotten has served the military community for 100 years. In 1919 their founder, Marta Cunningham, witnessed hundreds of men languishing on the wards, suffering from wounds sustained in The Great War. She set up The Not Forgotten and in the first year entertained around 10,000 individuals. The organisation remains true to its original ideals, providing activities that alleviate suffering and directly address the causes of isolation and loneliness amongst vulnerable members of the Armed Forces family.
In 2018/19 they supported 10,471 people from all Services, from WWII Veterans to those still serving. The oldest beneficiary was 106 years old, and youngest – a currently serving 23 year old. The Not Forgotten is a partner to every military charity, association and organisation; they support them all. With no membership, they help any serving member or Veteran who is ill or suffering regardless of service, age, rank, length of service or type of illness.
“The Not Forgotten has supported, motivated and inspired around one million beneficiaries since 1919.”
With benefits including concerts, outings, respite holidays, TVs and TV Licences, The Not Forgotten has something for everyone, but particularly those who need and would benefit from a challenge. Since 1921 they have also hosted two annual Royal events, a Garden Party and Christmas Party for 3,000 individuals.
This charity epitomises the very best of the Armed Forces and those who serve our community. Its focus is relentlessly on the beneficiary, and they achieve a considerable amount by working closely with others, being the trusted partner of choice for delivering specific events, and constantly doing more and doing it better. The Not Forgotten’s programme creates the all-important environment where service personnel feel secure and relaxed, where banter and camaraderie come to the fore, morale grows and confidence is regained. These are the building blocks upon which all recovery is based; feeling valued and included, and having dignity and independence restored are often the first steps to normality.
“The Not Forgotten is the military charity sector’s unsung hero; they make a difference without the noise.”
Don’t forget to keep an eye out for any good news stories from our incredible Finalists – or tell us yours! It’s always great to read anything that’s not Coronavirus-related, so if you share anything relevant on social media, please remember to tag us! We’ll happily share and retweet you, giving you and your organisation, if relevant, extra exposure.
You can see our full list of Finalists in each category here.
To find out about the Soldiering On Awards Independent Judging Panel who had the tough task of selecting this year’s Finalists, click here.