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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.

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.”

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.

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: 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: 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.

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.

Companies

Annington

Annington logo
Annington became one of the largest private owners of UK residential property after purchasing 57,434 homes from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in 1996. Most of these properties are leased back to the MoD. A significant number, however, have been handed back to Annington.

They have invested time, money and expertise in regenerating thousands of these homes and returning them to the national housing stock. To date, they have helped over 18,000 homebuyers, including many first-time buyers and key workers.

Codorníu

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

Helen Reynolds from Ink Gardener Copywriting donates extra time towards looking after our web content and social media accounts.

She is the great-granddaughter of a WWI ambulance driver, the granddaughter of a WWII Lancaster bomber pilot and a fan of the novels written by our patron Bernard Cornwell.

Podio

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.

www.biglotteryfund.org.uk

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.

www.gov.uk/the-armed-forces-covenant

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.

www.veteransfoundation.org.uk