Sponsored by NatWest
This award honours a person who has overcome significant challenges, injury or disability, and whose ongoing or past outstanding achievements are an inspiration to others within the Armed Forces community. The winner of this award will be chosen through a public vote.
Which of our three incredible finalists will inspire you to vote for them?
Read the articles; watch the videos and cast your vote.
Voting goes live from 00:00, Monday 29th August.
Voting will then close at 23:59 on Sunday 11th September.
You can only vote once so make it count and spread the word!
This award is generously sponsored by NatWest. NatWest serves customers in England and Wales, supporting them with their personal, private, and business banking needs. NatWest helps customers at all stages in their lives, from opening student accounts, to buying their first home, setting up a business, and saving for retirement.
Alongside a wide range of banking services, NatWest offers businesses specialist sector knowledge in areas such as sustainable energy, commercial property and technology, as well as access to specialist entrepreneurial support.
“NatWest is honoured to be supporting the 2022 Soldiering On Awards in recognising truly inspirational people and teams, profiling the outstanding achievements of current and former service men and women, their families and all those who support the Armed Forces Community.” – Julie Baker, Head of Enterprise and Climate Engagement and Partnerships, NatWest
Our Category Ambassador for this award is Jeremy Vine.
The Finalists for the Inspiration Award are:
- Mark Bowra MBE
- Sip Powers
- Gina Allsop
Read their stories and watch the videos below, and vote at the bottom of the page.
Lt Col Mark Bowra MBE RM enjoyed a successful career as a decorated, highly respected officer in the Special Boat Service before suffering a devastating stroke in 2014. Initially unable to walk, and still suffering from aphasia and restricted movement down one side, his recovery has been remarkable.
Mark’s drive, grit and determination are inspirational as he dedicates himself to helping others. He established the Bowra Foundation, bringing together the Armed Forces community and people living with neurological disorders, to provide practical help, undertake physical challenges and inspire resilience. He reaches out to those who feel weak and vulnerable to help them tackle the challenges they face in their recovery journey, and provides life changing experiences for many individuals.
Mark also devised the Bowra Bag, a toolkit of aids for rehabilitation, and raised £30,000 to provide these to the Armed Forces Community.
“Mark sees no bounds to the Bowra Foundation and wants to help as many people as he can. His formidable spirit and desire to continue helping and inspiring others sets him apart.”
Mark recognised the enormous difference adaptive sport made to his mental health so, leading by example, he competed in two Invictus Games, winning a gold medal for swimming in Orlando! In 2020, the pandemic interrupted his planned challenge to cycle, swim, paddle and walk from John O’Groats to Land’s End. Determinedly, he covered the 1000 miles beginning in his garage, eventually being able to complete the final leg from Dartmoor to Land’s End.
“Through charisma, energy, drive, commitment, sheer force of will and, most importantly, compassion, Mark Bowra improves the lives of the people with whom he comes into contact.”
Sip Powers recently retired as a Major from the Armed Forces after 34 years’ service. Alongside a distinguished career, during which he suffered his own significant health issues, Sip dedicated much of his spare time to support wounded, injured and sick (WIS) service personnel.
Sip devoted over a decade to the BattleBack initiative as an adaptive senior instructor, and established the Help for Heroes Paraclimbing Team, working closely with Team GB. After two years of planning, he completed Enduro7 to raise funds and awareness for Combat Stress. This personal endurance challenge demonstrated the effects of sleep deprivation linked to mental health issues. Sip remained awake for 185 hours, completing seven different 24-hour endurance events. Following this, he became the Combat Stress County Representative for Lancashire, supporting 300,000 Veterans.Continue Reading
“Sip achieved Enduro7 with sheer determination and willpower, knowing that he would be raising the profile of mental health issues faced by Veterans suffering in silence.”
Inspirational Sip has completed 17 Ironman competitions, including the gruelling BattleBack1000, coordinated and completed the Everest Charity Climb, tackling the height of Everest twice over five days, and is now coordinating a new guide route on Mount Kilimanjaro. Sip also personally oversaw the MoD Adaptive Home project, ensuring 120 homes met the clinical needs of seriously wounded and injured service personnel.
Sip has now created his own business, Outdoors,’ enabling WIS personnel and Veterans to access the great outdoors to assist with mentoring, coaching and wellbeing development.
“Through the numerous gruelling endurance charity events he’s instigated and participated in, Sip has raised awareness and generated more than £40k for military charities.”
Gina Allsop Ginelli is a force to be reckoned with. She’s a Veteran, adventure racer, volunteer with the Army Cadets, volunteer Marine Mammal Medic, and successful fundraiser. She is also the editor of a poetry book, Military Memories, which was inspired by her brother’s funeral. The book is an important way of raising funds for military charities, and as a conduit for mental wellbeing, both for those who wrote the poems and those who read them.
Gina completed a cycling challenge to raise more than £10,000 to set up an art therapy class for a cancer charity. She has also run, walked and cycled over 5,200 miles for charity in honour of her late brother. As a member of the Sporting Force Female UK Challenge team, they achieved 1st in their class!
An inspirational guest speaker and major fundraiser for the amazing work of SSAFA, Gina will always be grateful for the support Sporting Force provided after she was injured in a bike accident and lost her brother the following day. She speaks at many SSAFA events, often to audiences of over 1000 VIPs.Continue Reading
“Her inspirational talks lift the spirits of all who listen, and her recovery from injury and personal loss using sport has given wounded Veterans hope.”
Aside from her extensive military support, Gina has helped move over 120 tons of fishing line, ropes, nets and litter from local beaches, she rescues sickly seals, and she’s helping to rehome greyhounds.
“This lady transforms lives wherever she goes, Gina is a role model who will continue to serve her country, defend animals, improve the environment and support her comrades long after her move to civilian life.”