Meet our team

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, 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 Café Hubs 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.

Additionally, Mrs. Beerhalter also serves as an Ambassador, Member of the Board, Trustee, Committee Member, Advisor, and Expert to various for-profit and not-for-profit organisations around the globe specialised in a wide range of issues including, social business, entrepreneurship, economic development, leadership, education, impact investment, economic development, mental health, gender inclusiveness, women empowerment, investment in emerging markets, and wealth management, family governance and succession planning. As an investor she also manages her own investment portfolio. Mrs. Beerhalter was awarded with the TIAW World of Difference Award in 2015.

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 founder of the award-winning Independent Gardening Ltd (appropriately transformed into Knackered Gardener Ltd), Dorinda creates outside space for sufferers of brain injuries and neurological disorders. These gardens are designed for enjoyment and practicality. The therapeutic garden Dorinda showed at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show is now located at Combat Stress’s Tyrwhitt House centre.  Dorinda is also a trustee of ASDIC the network for UK drop in centres, and is a firm believer in the power of collaboration and environment to help support lead better and happier lives within their communities.

Trustee: Jim Bowden

Jim Bowden - trustee of FirstLight Trust

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 Business Unit Leader, Sector Lead and Business Development Director.