Combat Stress wins prestigious Smee & Ford Legacy Giving Award

Combat Stress has beaten stiff competition to win a prestigious award recognising its excellence in inspiring and guiding supporters to leave a gift in their Wills.

After facing stiff competition from a total of 108 entries and five other finalists – Shelter, British Red Cross, Imperial College London, Thames Hospice and The Air Ambulance, the Excellence in Donor Journey & Pledger Stewardship award was presented to the veterans’ mental health charity, at the Smee & Ford Legacy Giving Awards on 18 April, following judging from an expert panel of 42 prominent figures from the legacy giving community.

The awards ceremony was held at the Hilton Bankside in London. Three hundred guests were in attendance, bringing together legacy professionals from across the charity sector to recognise and celebrate the significant contribution of legacy income for charities and their beneficiaries.

Winning this category, at the UK’s only awards recognising professionals and teams across the whole legacy giving sector, is testament to Combat Stress’ efforts in inspiring and guiding supporters to leave the ultimate gift.

The charity provides specialist treatment and support for veterans with some of the most complex mental health issues relating to their military service.

Sarah Seddon, Head of Planned Giving at Combat Stress, said:

“We are so thrilled to have won. It was very unexpected given the brilliant and widely renowned nature of the other finalist charities who we were up against.

“In our submission, we highlighted how we communicate with supporters – personal, tailored and handwritten wherever possible. We know that the motivation for them leaving a gift in a Will is very much a belief in our work and the duty of care we have for those who have served our country and now need our help. We talk to supporters about the future, what impact legacies have on the lives of veterans and how they have the power to have such a positive impact for future generations. This is very much an ongoing relationship with supporters and one we really strive to maintain.

“We are so grateful for each and every gift.”

Polly Avgherinos, Managing Director at Smee & Ford, said:

“The Smee & Ford Legacy Giving Awards are dedicated to celebrating the incredible work of legacy professionals, giving individuals and teams an opportunity to showcase their work and gain recognition. It’s been wonderful to see the positive response for these awards from the sector with a significant increase in participation producing more entries, more judges, more attendees and more finalists this year!

“The unique work of legacy teams has not always been widely understood and appreciated, so we’re delighted to recognise the work of Combat Stress in an exceptional field of nominees, each showcasing successes and achievements this last year. Well done, Combat Stress, you can be very proud of your achievements.”

With Combat Stress 74% reliant on public donations to help provide its life-changing specialist treatment to those veterans in need, Legacies are a vital source of income. They fund treatment for one in five of the veterans the charity supports, and allow supporters to leave a lasting positive mark on the veteran community. For more information visit: or call Sarah Seddon on 01372 587 144.

More information on the 2024 Smee & Ford Legacy Giving Awards and the full list of Winners and Highly Commended can be found at

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