2019 ended in spectacular style as we hosted a remembrance dinner onboard HMS Belfast in London together with our patron Mike Tindall, and generously supported by Axinite.
The evening gave our patron, ambassadors, ex-professional players and military veterans the opportunity to mix with supporters and reflect on what has been a busy year for the charity.
After guests enjoyed a drinks reception and a look around the ship’s museum, the event’s Master of Ceremonies and charity ambassador Nick Knowles kicked off the main event; dinner in the Ship’s Company Dining Hall.
We were delighted to welcome Olympians Amy Williams MBE and Samantha Murray and enjoyed an interesting Q&A session with the two sporting greats. Both now retired from professional sport, Amy and Samantha gave us an insight into how they have embraced new challenges, with Amy’s point to “focus on what you’re doing and not what you’re feeling” really resonating with lots in the room. Wise words from someone who travelled 92mph lying face down on a tea tray(!) on her way to winning Olympic Gold in the Skeleton.
Nick also enjoyed a chat with some of the military veterans who have completed our Transition Through Rugby course and who are now at various stages in their own transition out of the military. They drew parallels with Amy and Samantha showing the similarities between both worlds, something which underpins how the charity came into it’s very being. It was great to catch up with the guys and hear how they are all getting on and how the charity has helped support them in their journey so far.
Patron Mike Tindall was next up for questioning, joined by charity ambassador Thinus Delport. With the Rugby World Cup final still fresh in everyone’s minds, it was an opportunity to hear the views of one of England’s 2003 Rugby World Cup winning team as well as the South African point of view from a Springbok legend. What a treat!
After some truly beautiful singing from friend of the charity Millie Underwood, the evening culminated in a lively auction. As always it was masterfully led by our Chair of Trustees, Simon Bailey. An incredible £50,000 was raised for the charity and an enormous thanks to all of those who supported so generously.
We will kick off the new year with our first Transition Through Rugby course in February and all monies received from the dinner will go on to provide more courses and support to our transitioning service personnel.
Thank you and Happy New Year to you all.