Earlier this month I was privileged to be invited by David Wiseman to attend the Annual Endeavour Fund Awards, writes columnist Jemima Brown.
The Endeavour Fund was set up in 2012 by the Royal Foundation mirroring the passion of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry to support the recovery of wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women.
They provide funding for organisations delivering support and adventure challenges to catalyse the recovery and rehabilitation of servicemen and women. Through these endeavours the men and women can seek mentoring, rediscover their self-belief and use their fighting spirit once again. Throughout 2017 93% service men and women reported an improvement in wellbeing due to their endeavour.
There were three awards presented during the evening ceremony. The first was recognising achievement, the second to celebrate excellence and the third was the Henry Worsley Award. Awards were presented by Lorrain Heggessey, CEO of the Royal Foundation, Mr Anthony Baldwin, CEO AIG Europe Limited, Megan Markle, Neil Heritage, previous winner of the Henry Worsley Prize, Harry Holt, chairman of the Endeavour Fund Advisory Board, Alicia and Max Worsley and HRH Prince Henry of Wales. The whole event was hosted by Levison Wood, an Endeavour Fund Ambassador.
The Recognising Achievement Award was presented to the individual who best promoted their recovery through their Endeavour. This was awarded to Ben Lee who served with the Royal Engineers. He, having previously been terrified of water, overcame huge physical adversity by getting involved Deptherapy. Deptherapy are a charity who use specialist scuba diving programmes to help sick and injured servicemen and women through their journey to civilian life.
The second award was given to the person who achieved excellence through their endeavour. The winner was Daniel Claricoates, an individual who endured multiple tours in Afghanistan. He joined ’65 Degrees North’ and climbed Kilimanjaro and Vinson, the highest mountains in Africa and Antarctica. ’65 Degrees North’ offer ex-service men and women the opportunity to take part in challenging adventures to help them in their rehabilitation process.
The third award was in memory of Henry Worsley. In November 2015 he had the aim to be the first person to walk coast to coast, unsupported, through Antarctica. He so very nearly completed his task, when 30 miles from the end he was flown to a hospital in Chile where he sadly passed away in January 2016. With Henry in mind, to honour his life and legacy, the final award went to an individual who has shown determination and positivity in the face of adversity through their endeavour and inspired others on every step of their journey. The final award went to Sean Gane. He has many injuries caused by close proximity to explosions. He was selected to join a dog-sledding endeavour to Sweden by the Fortitude Team. At one-point Sean’s injuries forced him to leave the team for several days. Despite this, he re-joined his teammates to ensure they all crossed the finish line together. He now uses his own experiences to support others through many different charities, working to support recovery and mentor others.
It was a truly inspirational and eye-opening event that showcased all the hard work of those who support the endeavours and the incredible determination of the sick and wounded servicemen and women. HRH Price Henry of Wales ended the evening with a speech. He said ‘for some people, just getting to the starting line can be the greatest challenge’ the Endeavour fund ‘draws them into a team once more as a way of rebuilding their self-confidence and their trust in others’. The service men and women and ‘truly awesome and society needs every one of you’.