The Inspiration, Animal Partnership and People’s Choice award winners have just been announced at the fourth virtual Soldiering On Awards 2020 (SOA2020) ceremony.
The fourth virtual ceremony was compèred by Best-Selling Author and RAF Veteran John Nichol and attended by the category finalists and sponsors, Vice-President of the Soldiering on Awards, Debra Allcock-Tyler, special guests including Helen Helliwell, Director Armed Forces People Policy at the Ministry of Defence, Army Sergeant Major, Gavin Paton and WO1 (SEAC) Glenn J Haughton OBE, Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chiefs of Staff Committee.
Before the ceremony, Minister for Defence People and Veterans, Johnny Mercer MP, shared a message of support for all the 2020 Winners and Finalists.
Johnny shared his fond memories of launching the 10th anniversary SOA nominations, in a special video message:
“I’ve always been a huge fan of these awards and what they do to recognise some really special people in our community. It’s such a great opportunity to recognise some of the really heroic work that goes on in this sector, I’m really proud to be associated with it. I fully encourage you to tune in at 5pm on the 22 October for the conclusion of the awards this year.”
The full video can be seen on the Soldiering On Awards social media channels.
Soldiering On Awards Co-Chair, Lt. Col Ren Kapur MBE first met Johnny Mercer properly in 2016, a year into him being elected as MP for Plymouth Moor View:
“The thing that struck me back then, and still now, was his vehement conviction to support mental wellbeing and war veterans. Here we are today, only 4 years later and grateful that the Minister for Defence People and Veterans, Johnny Mercer MP is still doing so much for our community.”
Johnny’s very first public outing as Minister was at The Royal British Legion in September 2019 to kick off the nominations launch, for the 10th Anniversary of Soldiering On Awards, the biggest of its kind yet, to commemorate the wider armed forces community. The Awards values are very much aligned to Johnny’s powerful maiden speech which was delivered in Parliament in June 2015; to ultimately improve the lives of veterans and their families.
For Soldiering On Awards, this is one small but important piece of that jigsaw and vision, to shine a light on incredible people and organisations doing good for the common cause
A big thank you to the Minister for his thanks and wishes to all the finalists and winners of Soldiering On Awards 2020.
Sally Orange has won the Inspiration Award – sponsored by NatWest
Sally holds seven world records and has completed over 50 marathons dressed as different pieces of fruit. She has made it her crusade to raise awareness, funds and support for her colleagues through sport and physical challenges.
Chris Lewis and Jett have won the Animal Partnership Award – sponsored by Pets At Home
After leaving the Parachute Regiment, Chris Lewis spent ten years raising his daughter as a single parent. Life was not easy and, at crisis point, Chris received support from his local branch of SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity. Chris wanted to give something back and in August 2017 he decided to walk around the UK, raising money for SSAFA. He and his dog Jet became a partnership in January 2018 and have been together ever since. After just over two years, he is almost at Inverness and his he has raised just under an incredible £160,000.
101-year-old Hector Duff wins the People’s Choice Award – sponsored by Oracle
The incredible Hector Duff OBE, MM, BEM, Legion d’Honneur, founded the Normandy Veterans’ Association Branch on the Isle of Man and has been Chairman of the Joint ex-Services Association on the Island. This remarkable man has worked tirelessly for decades for Veteran charities and in helping WWII Veterans as they became infirm. Hector is now the final remaining Normandy Veteran on the Island.
The 2020-Awards mark SOA’s 10th anniversary and the first full awards cycle since becoming part of X-Forces Enterprise (XFE). During those 10 years, over 120 winners, teams, charities, businesses and animal partners, across a range of categories along with countless more finalists, have been recognised for their outstanding contribution to the Military Community.
Lt Colonel Ren Kapur MBE, CEO of X-Forces Enterprise and Co-Chair of the Soldiering on Awards said:
“Yet another incredible group of winners and finalists, I am humbled and proud to be part of the Armed Forces Family and what we together stand for. The last four weeks of celebration have been so wonderful. It has been especially poignant to gather everyone together and celebrate our amazing community in these challenging times.”
“Next week I will be hosting a livestream event, alongside Jade Callaway, BFBS Broadcaster, live from the BFBS Studio in Chalfont St Peter. Please join us in celebrating all of the finalists, winners, judges and sponsors for 2020 before we unveil the e winner of the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award.”
The Earl Howe, Patron of the Soldiering on Awards said:
“Despite the virtual backdrop, the evening was a tremendous hour of celebration. All the finalists’ achievements cover an impressively wide range, from driving change in the Armed Forces environment and supporting our veterans’ community, to fields beyond Service life – be that sport, business, charity-work or public service.
“Huge congratulations to ALL our fantastic 2020 winners and finalists. We look forward to celebrating you all next week at the livestream event on 22ndOctober at 5pm. You are such an inspiration to us all.”