Patron: Bernard Cornwell OBE
Bernard Cornwell, OBE 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 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.”
Trustee: Jim Bowden
A former Brigadier with the Royal Engineers, Jim served in the Falkland Islands, Northern Ireland, Balkans and Iraq. Delivering military engineering bomb disposal gave him a particular interest in the importance of resilience, strategic planning, infrastructure support and sustainable development. This is what he now focuses on.
As well as commanding operations Jim has established such diverse programmes as the Whole Fleet Management, the Defence Infrastructure Organisation and the Army Retention Strategy. He was also a Trustee and Director of the Army Sports Control Board. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Royal Engineers and the Chartered Institute of Management.
Since leaving the Army Jim has worked for KBR, Carillion and AECOM as a Sector Lead and Business Development Director.