In celebration of International Women’s Day which takes place on March 8th, Walking With The Wounded (‘WWTW’), a leading Armed Forces charity, is proud to announce the appointment of two new female Charity Ambassadors, current President of the Army Officer Selection Board, Colonel Lucy Giles and Victoria Loaiza, a prominent Armed Forces supporter and widow of an Afghanistan soldier.
Colonel Lucy Giles and Victoria Loaiza take their place among a diverse and accomplished group of WWTW Ambassadors, including Elizabeth Hurley, Nick Knowles, Levison Wood and Tom Evans.
Colonel Lucy Giles is the current President of the Army Officer Selection Board, where she is responsible for Regular, Reservist & Cadet Forces officer selection into the British Army and was previously the first female College Commander in The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst’s 200-year history.
Lucy joined the Army in 1992 and saw regimental duty in Germany, followed by tours of Bosnia and South Africa. On being promoted to Major, she was posted to 5 Airborne Brigade with tours to East Timor, Sierra Leone, and Bosnia again.
Colonel Lucy Giles commented,
“I am absolutely delighted to be an Ambassador for Walking With The Wounded. Not only is this a charity that links closely with my experience as an officer in the British Army, but I have also seen first-hand the impact on beneficiaries of the money that we collectively raise. It is also poignant that the timing of this announcement is during the week that celebrates International Women’s Day and the importance of #breakingthebias. I have been in the military for over 30 years and will never stop striving for equality of opportunity or treating people with equity both personally and professionally. In my role as Ambassador, I pledge to champion the work that the charity does and support our beneficiaries by raising money and awareness.”
At the inaugural Women in Defence event in 2016, Lucy was given the Inspirational Award and the Woman of the Year Award. She is an ambassador for First Women UK, was in the Times 500 People of Influence 2016 and featured on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs in 2021.
Victoria Loaiza’s husband, Lance Corporal James Bateman was the 101st British soldier to be killed in Afghanistan whilst serving with 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment on 12th June 2008 in what was the bloodiest week for 2 PARA since the Falklands conflict.
They had been married for less than 2 years. Victoria was 24 years old.
Since then, Victoria has been passionate that the sacrifice of her husband – and all those who have fallen in the conflicts preceding his death and those since in Afghanistan should not be forgotten by the nation. And that the vital work of all those serving, our veterans and the injured remain at the forefront of our collective memory and that they are always remembered with gratitude.
Victoria Loaiza said,
“It is a distinct honour and pleasure to become an ambassador for Walking With The Wounded. For those that have sacrificed so much in the service of our nation, past, present and future, the burdens and scars they carry, both seen and unseen, are marks of pride and pain. My late husband, James’ last act before he was killed in action was to make sure all the guys had been replenished with water, he always felt a profound duty to look after his brothers and sisters in arms and I want to carry his spirit onwards by working with WWTW and support the amazing work they do. They are not only addressing the issue around mental health with treatment but also assisting with other issues that are important contributing factors to mental health – employment, housing, self-confidence is just a few to mention.
“Today is especially poignant for many reasons, not least as it has been just over 4 years that women were permitted to serve in frontline infantry as their male counterparts, but it is never just one individual who goes to war. As a military spouse, I know all too well the difficulties and sacrifices of those who remain at home. Many families across the nation now, and in the future will be incomplete for the absence of a loved one who is called to serve. It is most welcome that WWTW are extending their support to these families will not only strengthen the family unit but also provide them with tools to support their loved ones.”