Fg Off Laura-Jane Kneller (SOTLT Associate) I can remember back to my days in MOD Main Building when Squadron Leader Tal Lambert (now Wing Commander) approached a few of the keen military types to organise an event that would see us raising money for BLESMA. It was a tight time frame and in a matter of a couple of months we would organise an event to take place in one of Peter Stringfellow’s establishments in the Centre of London. Using all of our contacts we managed to gather an array of VIPs with money to spend and hosted a night to remember. I believe we raised a total of £25,000 that evening and with that event only taking a couple of months to organise it left us thinking ‘what can we raise if we really put our minds to it?’
In 2011 the bar was raised with the Soldiering On name and charity fully formed and in our hearts. Instead of an auction and raffle that was organised the previous year the charity event would see itself take the form of an awards ceremony.
Not only would Soldiering On just raise money for military charities we would recognise brave individuals, their families and the community for selfless acts of kindness through adversity. The day of the awards ceremony was extremely nerve-racking but the team came together to ensure the majestic surroundings of the Savoy came to life. Senior members of the military, famous people and the Patrons; HRH the Duke of Gloucester accompanied by HRH the Duchess of Gloucester were all in attendance. The night was a huge success and enjoyed by all, an extremely proud evening that I was blessed to be apart of.
To give something back to those brave servicemen and women and their families is the least we as a Nation can do, not just through the military charities but through recognising those individual’s who make a difference against the odds. The Soldiering On Through Life Trust (SOTLT) does just that.
After 2 years away from the charity due to work commitments I am now back and over the moon that the SOTLT is now a formed charitable entity in its own right. I have always kept a keen eye on what Wing Commander Tal Lambert and the team would do next and am pleased that the awards for 2012 and 2013 were even bigger successes. To be invited back into the SOTLT is an honour; to be apart of such a dedicated, selfless team a fantastic experience.