Meet our supporters

Our UK charity for veterans of the armed forces and emergency services has some great supporters. Many are veterans themselves, so understand the problems associated with returning to civilian life.

Patron: Bernard Cornwell OBE

Bernard Cornwell author

Bernard Cornwell is the author of many historical novels including the Sharpe stories about the Napoleonic Wars. He feels very strongly about veterans’ needs.

Bernard has kindly allowed us to call our charity café after his hero, famously played by Sean Bean. We are also offering world-exclusive merchandise based on quotes from the novels in our Sharpe’s cafés.

I’ve made a living writing about the adventures of soldiers. It just seems appropriate to give something back to the men and women who’ve provided me with so much material! I have a huge admiration for those who serve in our Armed Forces. They risk everything to make certain we have a comfortable existence. Too often their problems and needs are ignored when their service ends.

A very good soldier once told me that his career had been spent ‘fighting battles for those who can’t fight for themselves’. Now many of those men and women who fought those selfless battles need help themselves. FirstLight is trying to offer that help, and I’m honoured to be involved.

Trustee: Gouy Hamilton-Fisher

Following an early career as a Royal Marines Commando, Gouy joined Timpson Limited in 1983. He is now a board member and director, responsible for the HR support for 3,000 colleagues. He is involved in work experience and recruiting ex-offenders through the Timpson Foundation. His current interests are in the recruitment of ex-military personnel.

Trustee: Kate Schroder MBE, FRSA

Kate Schroder, MBE, FRSA

Originally qualifying as a forensic archaeologist in the 1980’s, Kate has worked in the NHS for 20 years. She was previously a CEO for eight years working across six hospitals at one time, Chief Officer over an Ambulance Service working across eight Counties, and a Director of Surgery.

Kate has also been a non-executive director of the Queen Alexandra, a hospital for disabled and injured servicemen and women. She was awarded an MBE for services to health in 2009.

“I’ve worked with both serving and retired armed force personnel. My work in the NHS has also required close working with emergency services. Mindful of the pressures they all experience, and how much has yet to be achieved to support them and their families, I am grateful for the opportunity to work as part of FirstLight Trust.”

Regiments: The Yorkshire Regiment

The Yorkshire Regiment logo

The Army’s Yorkshire Regiment consists of The Green Howards, the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment and the Prince of Wales Own.

Charities: ABF – The Soldiers’ Charity

The Soldiers' Charity logoThe Army’s National Charity The Soldiers Charity, has provided support to soldiers, Veterans and their families since 1944.

Chairman: Lady Jane Grosvenor

Lady Jane Grosvenor, supporter of FirstLight Trust, a UK charity for veterans

Lady Jane has been involved with charities for more than 30 years, She has been President, Chairman and Patron of organisations such as Macmillan Cancer Relief Scotland and a hospice in North West Norfolk. She is involved in fundraising for the terrorist victims of Northern Ireland.

Vice Chair: Ida Beerhalter

Ida Beerhalter

Ida is the Co-Head of IOME, a private investment partnership of women principals from the Gulf region with its head office in Riyadh, KSA. She also serves as Member of the Board, trustee and advisor to various for-profit and not-for-profit organisations around the globe.

“I became a Trustee in memory of my grandfathers. They fought the physical and psychological aftermath of World War II’s horrors alone. I heard their stories about how difficult it was to get back to civilian life. They described it as being like an uprooted tree which needs to be re-planted. FirstLight provides those roots.”

Vice Chair: Simon Hodges

Simon Hodges

Simon is a former Coldstream Guards officer where he served on operational tours including Bosnia in 1994.

As a result of his own life journey and seeing PTSD’s impact, Simon is passionate about teaching people the tools for great mental health. He believes they are not taught nearly widely enough in society today.

Simon is a chartered accountant. Previously he was CEO of the Family Office of one of Middle East’s oldest trading families. He was also a partner of the international trust services firm Rawlinson & Hunter and a senior manager with the Swire Group.

Today Simon helps transform people’s lives in his coaching practice. He also works on improving family dynamics and enabling a transition of wealth to the next generation at Oxford Place.

Trustee: Dan Ilett

Dan Ilett FirstLight Trust trustee

Dan Ilett helps technology and financial companies to grow. He has worked in digital leadership and transformation positions with Virgin Money, Thomas Cook Money and IBM. He also advises the UK Government and Fortune 100 tech firms.

As a startup media entrepreneur, Dan specialised in technology, sustainable innovation and blockchain/digital currency. Dan was also a journalist for the Financial Times and Economist Group. The blog Programmable World, aimed at global tech leaders, is an initiative headed up by Dan.

Trustee: Dorinda Wolfe Murray

Dorinda’s father was a Gordon Highlander and she comes from a military family. She has witnessed first-hand the catastrophic impact PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) can have on lives.

As the founder of the award-winning Independent Gardening Ltd. Dorinda creates outside space for sufferers of brain injuries and mental health issues. These spaces are designed to make people feel comforted and absorbed in the pleasure of their surroundings. The therapeutic garden shown at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show is now located at Tyrwhitt House, a treatment centre for combat stress in Surrey.



Codorníu logo

Codorníu is the world’s oldest producer of cava. Founded in Catalonia, Spain in 1551, they have generously donated the wine for many of our fundraising events.

Ink Gardener Copywriting

Ink Gardener Copywriting and Social Media logo

In the 21st century, websites and social media are essential to how charities communicate. Helen from Ink Gardener Copywriting has donated extra time towards looking after our web content and social media accounts.


Podio logo

This company is generously supporting us in technology to help our charity work more efficiently. Podio sets up online meetings, messaging, file storage and calendars to help any organisation function more smoothly.

Awards and grants

The Big Lottery Fund

The Big Lottery Fund logo

Awards and grants to UK organisations to help improve their communities.

The Covenant Fund

Armed Forces Covenant Fund logo

The £10 million Covenant Fund comes from the government. The Covenant is a promise from the nation to treat fairly those who serve or have served, and their families.

Veterans’ Foundation

Veterans' Foundation logo

The Veterans’ Foundation is a nationwide source of funding for our UK charity for veterans and other armed forces charities. It acquires funds through the Veterans’ Lottery and donations.