Members of the Armed Forces Community have been announced as nominees for prestigious awards to be presented at the annual Endeavour Fund Awards ceremony on Thursday 5th March.
The nominees each have their own incredible stories of how, throughout 2019, the Endeavour Fund has helped them to utilise sport or adventurous challenge as part of their own recovery, their adjustment to life after the military and in most cases, how they have helped others at the same time. This annual awards ceremony is an opportunity for the military community to celebrate all the nominees’ incredible achievements over the past year, which truly show the fighting spirit of those supported by the Endeavour Fund.
Their Royal Highnesses, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, will attend the annual Endeavour Fund Awards, to be held at Mansion House. The Duke and Duchess will celebrate the achievements of those injured in service who have taken part in remarkable sporting and adventurous challenges after experiencing injury or illness in service.
Four awards will be given out on the night: Recognising Achievement Award, Celebrating Excellence Award, Henry Worsley Award and the brand-new Community Impact Award. This prize, introduced for 2020, is to recognise the team that has contributed the most to their community and used the experience from their endeavour to make a positive impact on those around them. Contrary to the other three awards, there are no nominees for the Community Impact Award – all endeavours from the past year will be entered to win.
Nikki Smale, Mark Bowra and Danny Holland have been nominated for the Recognising Achievement Award, which is awarded to the individual who has best utilised their endeavour to promote and catalyse their recovery. This prize goes to the person who has motivated their teammates by demonstrating a personal breakthrough and showing the positive difference sport and adventure can make in rehabilitation.
Nikki Smale was selected as a nominee after developing a knee injury that affected her career and her mental health. After being discharged from the army, Nikki found a new lease on life through her association with ‘Bude Surf Vets’. Nikki has rediscovered her identity, grown in confidence and is hoping to use the experience she is gaining as a surf instructor to inspire and support others.
Mark Bowra was nominated after being selected for Team UK for the Invictus Games Toronto 2017. Mark had suffered a major stroke resulting in him being hospitalised for over a year and leaving him with problems using the right side of his body, as well as profound speech and language difficulties. Mark went on to win several medals in swimming at the Games and has since gone on to set up the ‘Bowra Foundation’, which will enable him to continue to help others find their ‘Invictus Spirit’.
Danny Holland was nominated by Mission Motorsport. Danny was involved in an IED blast whilst serving in Afghanistan which left him with mental health difficulties. He is now thriving as a driver, achieving wins and podium places at races all over the UK and Europe. Danny is now working towards instructor qualifications that will help him to pass on all he has learnt and help others in their own rehabilitation.
The Mind Over Matter Team, Glyn Barrell and Lee Spencer have been nominated for the Celebrating Excellence Award, which is given to those who have endeavoured to achieve excellence in their chosen sport or adventurous challenge. This prize is purely focused on accomplishment; the person or persons who have won the most medals, represented at the highest level or pushed the boundaries of what was deemed possible and has inspired others with their sporting performance.
The Mind over Matter Team were collectively nominated after becoming the first all-female team of wounded, injured and sick veterans to complete the Race Across America. This involved cycling 3,000 miles in a non-stop relay from California to Maryland. They navigated across 12 states and climbed over 190,000ft in temperatures exceeding 45 degrees Celsius.
Glyn Barrell was nominated by a veterans’ dragon boat racing team called Purple Warriors. Being part of this team improved Glyn’s recovery after he was seriously injured in a car crash, which resulted in him living with life-changing injuries and mental health difficulties. Getting involved in sport with other wounded veterans helped Glyn feel more connected. He is the first adaptive athlete to be selected in an able-bodied boat to represent his country as a member of the GB senior squad.
Lee Spencer was nominated after completing a record-breaking solo-row of the Atlantic Ocean. Lee served in the Royal Marines for 24 years but lost his right leg after being hit by flying debris whilst helping at the scene of an accident. After previously rowing the Atlantic in a team of 4 amputees (with 3 legs between them), in 2019 Lee made a successful solo attempt, breaking the able-bodied record by an astonishing 36 days and broke the record for the longest solo and unsupported row by a disabled person. Lee now holds a total of 4 Guinness World Records.
Mac Maclaren, Tom Oates and Nick Goldsmith have been nominated for The Henry Worsley Award, which is presented to the person who has best inspired others through the demonstration of determination in the face of adversity, whilst endeavouring to support others with their recovery through sport or adventure challenge. This is the most prestigious prize of the evening and is named after the late Henry Worsley, who tragically lost his life in January 2016 whilst attempting to cross the Antarctic landmass, solo and unsupported. Henry, a career soldier and an experienced polar adventurer, undertook this incredible expedition in order to raise money for the Endeavour Fund.
Mac Maclaren was nominated by the Sir Oswald Stoll Foundation. Mac was medically discharged with Post Traumatic Stress after serving 6 years in the Army (Royal Highland Fusiliers). Mac had a very difficult time, but found a home with the Stoll Foundation, which provides housing solutions for veterans in need. Mac wanted to improve the environment for his fellow residents and applied for a grant with Endeavour Fund. He displayed leadership and determination that led to a renovation project on the gym, giving access to fitness equipment and inspiring others to gain personal training qualifications.
Tom Oates was nominated by the diving charity, Deptherapy. Tom lost his fiancée to a road traffic accident just weeks after returning home from a difficult tour of Afghanistan. Tom’s mental health suffered and Deptherapy reached out to him. He now supports others with mental health
difficulties, as well as taking part in charity programmes to protect the ocean. Tom has been so inspired by Deptherapy and his desire to protect the ocean, that this year he is due to start a degree in Marine Biology.
Nick Goldsmith was selected as a nominee due to the demonstration of his own leadership and tenacity in setting up an organisation that not only helps him and his family, but helps other veterans too. Nick served for 11 years in the Royal Marines but after multiple tours of Afghanistan he was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress and left the military. Nick and his wife, Louise, purchased a patch of neglected woodland in the West Country and he soon found that working in the outdoors made a real difference to his mental health. He turned his passion into Hidden Valley Bushcraft, which provides a wide variety of outdoor activities, skills and education, including the Woodland Warrior Programme. The Woodland Warrior Project helps aid the recovery of other injured veterans, service personnel and members of the Emergency Services.