Soldiering On Awards Names 2016 Finalists

LONDON 25 March 2016 – The 2016 Soldiering On Awards finalists were officially announced at a reception hosted by the charity’s patron, The Rt Hon the Lord Astor of Hever PC DL, at the House of Lords on 29 February.

“It is befitting to host this reception here, at Parliament, as the Soldiering On Awards is not only about the Armed Forces but about the community it serves.”

Community continued as the theme of the evening as General the Lord Dannatt, chairman of this year’s judging panel, addressed the audience.

“The common thread that links our nine award categories together is the support we give to one another. I have seen time and time again successful transitioning for military personnel and their families is directly related to the support they receive from us – their community.

This year’s winners will be announced at the Soldiering On Awards on Friday, 22 April at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel, London. The 37 finalists fall into nine categories. They are:

CANINE PARTNER AWARD – Sponsored by Pets at Home

* Craig McLellan, Fudge and Boo – suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Craig realised the profound positive effects his dogs Fudge and Boo had on his mental health and founded Veterans with Dogs to provide other veterans in need with their own assistance dogs

* Mark Newton, Smudge and Missy – Mark believes cats can be great partners also having nominated felines Smudge and Missy for helping him combat depression as well as raise £50,000 in the last two years for charity

* Pen Farthing and Nowzad – named after the dog he adopted while on duty in the war-torn town in Afghanistan, the NOWZAD charity started by Pen has reunited over 800 soldiers with the pets they adopted while serving in war zones around the world

FAMILY VALUES AWARD – Sponsored by NetApp

* Ann Kadiri – Ann founded the Rushden Branch Friendship and Companionship Group to provide veterans and members of the Armed Forces Community, who may be living a lonely existence, with a kind word and smile; their group has created a community of hope and support through open arms

* Peter Glover – an advocate at seAp (support, empower, advocate, promote) Peter has gone beyond the call of duty by assisting clients in need , especially

WW2 veterans who feel vulnerable and those whose mental health is fragile, bringing them back into the Armed Forces Community

* Ronald (Tanzy) Lees – working with servicemen whose cases are complex and range in severity to include terminal illness, Tanzy has been a staple in the lives of those he has helped and their families

* Sally Mendonca – improving the quality of life for injured serviceman, Sally has battled for several years to bring about fundamental improvements to their daily lives

INNOVATIONS AWARD – Sponsored by telent Technology Services

* Combat Veteran Players – this group reached out to the works of Shakespeare for help in their rehabilitation; in turn, inspiring countless audiences and peers with their highly skilled and award-winning theatre company

* Osbourne Glover, Battling On CIC . Battling On CIC trains veterans to become mentors/instructors to young people who have disengaged with education and become involved with crime

* Peter Carruthers,– Peter’s film, Unloaded, focuses on the experiences of a veteran with PTSD symptoms, following interactions with his family and his difficulties in seeking and receiving the right help; and has helped carers and professionals to better understand the needs of those suffering from PTSD.

INSPIRATION AWARD – Sponsored by Skanska

* Adam Francis – the loss of both his legs to an IED did not stop Adam from learning to walk again with robotic legs; returning to his job as an HGV driver, then getting back on his beloved motorbike and in all instances doing what many has said was impossible.

* Bob Grieg – suffering life changing spinal injuries from a parachute failure while with the RAF, Bob’s disabilities led him to start his new career in sports; coaching sports teams, teaching U.S. veterans with disabilities to ski and setting up charities focused on sports for the disabled

* Clive Smith – after losing both his legs in Afghanistan, Clive has become a major supporter of a wide variety of military charities as well as a leader in the community. Overcoming his own challenges Clive dedicates much time to others and is an outstanding ambassador for his community,

* Colin Whitworth MBE – a car bomb in Northern Ireland may have taken his arm but could not keep Colin from returning to work in the British Army as an ATO Instructor completing operational tours in Iraq and Afghanistan for which he was awarded an MBE and the U.S. Bronze Star

* Hayley Vendyback – serving as an RAF Medic during multiple tours in Afghanistan took its toll on Hayley, but despite her suffering she dedicates much time to help with the charity A Soldiers Journey organized to help others with PTSD

* Chris Graham having served 22 years in the Royal Logistics Corps, in 2014 Chris was diagnosed with a rare early onset Alzheimer’s disease. This hasn’t stopped Chris pursuing his plan for a 16,000 unsupported cycle ride across the Coastlines of Canada and the USA to raise funds for the ABF and so far has raised over £40,000


* Dr Walter Busuttil – for over 34 years Walter has striven to support the military community to overcome mental illness, creating one of the most effective treatments of military PTSD in the world

* Not Forgotten Association – their outstanding support has improved the lives of many of the most wounded, injured and sick Naval Service personnel since it began in 1920

* Ray Hazan OBE – blind veteran Ray epitomizes the courage, commitment and resourcefulness of Blind Veterans UK, first as a client, then as a staff member and now as an ambassador and president

* Bomber Command Association The Association campaigned tirelessly to raise public awareness of the personal sacrifices of the 55,573 aircrew who died and created a lasting fitting national memorial in their memory.

PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD – Sponsored by The Sunday Express

* BLESMA Channel Swim Team – after 18 months of training, this four man team became the first ever all-amputee team to swim across the English Channel in just over 12 hours

* Jonathan Giemza Pipe and Toby – inured in Iraq, Jonathan credits his dog Toby, provided by Canine Partners, for enabling him to live a somewhat independent life despite being in a wheelchair

* Peter Baillie, UDR and R IRISH Aftercare Service – Peter has spent almost 40 years working for the MOD and since 2007 as the director of the UDR and R IRISH Aftercare Service, offering support to over 63,000 veterans and their families

* Rick Jolly OBE – a doctor and Armed Forces surgeon in the Royal Navy, he co-founded the South Atlantic Medal Association in 1982 to recognise veterans of the Falkland Islands

* The Two Worlds of Charlie F – this theatrical production based on the lives of young war veterans went on to tour the UK and Canada as well as conduct workshops in schools, bringing understanding to many, including the families of those who returned damaged

* Dr Phillip Rhodri and Mrs Nicole Bennett, Headley Court – having seen a similar device in the U.S., Dr Rhodri spent years gaining permission to produce the British Offloading Brace, an incredible external orthotic, which orthoptist Nicole Bennett then produced for injured soldiers to significantly enhance their physical capabilities.


* Carolyn Dufley – despite a life changing sporting accident leaving her wheelchair bound, this former Judo Military World Champion competed in the inaugural Invictus Games and then the Warrior Games winning gold a total of 11 times

* John Robertson – the former RAF weapons technician was paralysed from the chest down in a motorcycle accident; sailing was his rehabilitation leading this paralympic sailor to become part of the British Sailing Team and to compete in the Paralympic Games, World Championships and Sailing World Cup

* Mary Wilson – her injuries in 1994 and 2009 led to her medical discharge and affected her ability to play sport; she trained hard and was selected for the Warrior Games as well as being selected Field Team Captain of the Invictus Games, winning five medals, despite all the while suffering from Multiple Sclerosis


* Anne Griffiths – for over 20 years, Anne has volunteered as an adaptive waterski instructor having taught over 500 wounded, injured and sick military personnel with a range of physical and psychological injuries to waterski

* Blind Veterans UK – since 1915, Blind Veterans UK (formerly St. Dunstan’s)have been providing rehabilitation, training, care and recreational activities for blinded and vision-impaired ex-Service men and women

WORKING TOGETHER (Individuals) AWARD – Sponsored by Forces in Mind Trust

* Ann Townsend – despite her personal grief over the loss of her son during the Falklands, Ann has spent the last 30 years supporting veterans, first through the Falklands Family Association, then the South Atlantic Medal Association, and then establishing the Veterans Outreach Support which today supports veterans of all conflicts and of all three services and the merchant marine

* Linda Fisher – a major driving force behind raising the profile of the Armed Forces Community across Greater Manchester, Linda united all the local authorities to sign a joint Armed Forces Community Covenant and secured much needed funds to create a centre offering facilities, support and training

* Nick Shatford – currently supporting around 400 veterans in his role as Health & Wellbeing Manager for Stoll, Nick offers support and guidance to veterans within his reach and to the Combat Veteran Players

* Rob Cromey-Hawke – despite a life-changing brain injury in Afghanistan, Rob has overcome his challenges to excel in sport, competing in the 2015 Warrior Games, leading him to help found Headway Forces Support Group, the first of its kind

WORKING TOGETHER (Organisations) AWARD – Sponsored by Forces in Mind Trust

* AF+V Launchpad – provides extensive housing, employment and welfare support to veterans who suffer from homelessness, unemployment, broken families, poverty, depression or combat stress, health issue and social exclusion, and benefits the community in which it operates

* RHQ The Yorkshire Regiment – one of the most important strands of their work is looking after the welfare and benevolent needs of veterans, soldiers and their dependents; since 2006 it has provided about £750,000 to approximately 3,000 people in need and worked tirelessly alongside other military charities

* The Poppy Factory – dedicated to supporting disabled veterans into sustainable and life-changing employment through collaboration with many organisations and individuals; over the last five years it has helped over 500 disable veterans with a bespoke working plan

* Sovini Group / Sefton Veterans Project – committed to rehabilitation and reintegration into civilian society, this partnership has had a positive life-changing effect on those it has touched; together they help veterans and their families with support around issues, finding housing and employment, and meeting special living needs including a purpose-built house for veterans

* TroopAID – providing basic toiletries and essentials for thousands of injured service personnel, the TroopAID Grab Bag gives dignity for those returning to the UK without their personnel affects

Three additional awards will be presented on the evening:

an International Award sponsored by Airbus, a Trustees Award supported by Square Mile Salute and an Outstanding Contribution Award.

These awards, given at the discretion of the Soldiering On Through Life Trustees and Judges to persons whose life and deeds have had a major effect on others.

Soldiering On Through Life Trust was established as a not-for-profit organisation to support Service personnel and their families throughout their lives by giving recognition of the inspirational and outstanding achievements of teams or individuals through an annual awards ceremony: The Soldiering On Awards: National recognition for the Armed Forces Community.

For more information contact:

Madonna Walsh

Communications Director

Soldiering On Awards


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