My main aim this year has been the provision of suits and shoes for the 600 servicemen and women I have met at Headley Court Military Rehabilitation Hospital over the last 6 years , in addition to our shirts, ties and walking sticks, to help them dress properly for their transition into civilian life and new careers following medical or voluntary discharge due to life changing injuries. Style for Soldiers has been buying the suits from Marks & Spencer for those needing them for interviews and have received letters and emails saying how much it has helped their confidence. It also seems to lift spirits at such an important time.
Over the last month ten injured servicemen have visited Huntsman for bespoke suits which their owner Pierre Lagrange has kindly donated, as well as donating all their ready to wear end of season collections, the first of which we have been sending out over the last few weeks. They are all Kingsman fans so to walk into the Kingsman set and be measured in the very mirrored room at Huntsman has caused great excitement.
Also this month, following a meeting with chairman Robert Swannell thanks to the inimitable address book of supporter Heather Macgregor, Marks and Spencer have donated 250 £400 gift vouchers for suits and shoes. We will provide the injured servicemen and women on our Style for Soldiers database with their own code for this shopping experience, to give them the complete, smart work attire. This is the most significant step forward for our charity, and I am absolutely thrilled to have their committed and ongoing support.
In the next few months Jermyn Street shoemakers Foster and Sons will kindly be providing Style for Soldiers with cost price shoes, including different size feet in many cases for those with prosthetics and leg braces. Sue Simpson from Lock & Co will be accompanying me again in November on my visit to Headley Court Military Rehabilitation Hospital to measure for hats while I measure for shirts and walking sticks, and Bond Street’s head barber of Dolce & Gabana Stefan attends to beauty matters! Stefan will also be returning on the day before the party to groom the attendees.
Last week Lt. Alex Horsfall, former servicemen Matt weston and Garth Banks, my patrons Lisa Armstrong and Maria Witchell and I were invited to the Mappin and Webb Household Division dinner in The Grocers Hall where Alex and I spoke about Style for Soldiers as they have chosen us as their partner charity. I had been trying to find cufflinks and watches to give and suggested they design a commemorative cufflink for the two Operations Iraq and Afghanistan. This is going ahead, as well as their giving S4S donations from their sales from the re launched WW1 Campaign watch launching next April.
Our Ambassador David Gandy is designing a sock collection for The London Sock Company and 50% of the profits are kindly being donated to Style for soldiers by the founder Ryan Palmer, as well as giving socks for our Christmas party gift bags.
I am so grateful to Huntsman, Marks and Spencer, James Lock Hats, Foster and Sons, Stefan, The London Sock Company and our new charity partners Mappin and Webb for all their support in helping us to provide our injured servicemen and women with beautiful clothes and accessories to take them into their new lives and careers.
In December, with financial support from the Crown Estate and Mr. Porter, we host our 6th Christmas Style for Soldiers reunion party where no doubt many of these beautiful gifts will be on show.
We continue to have no administration costs as we run the charity within my business, but as we registered last year with the Charities Commission and are expanding what we do including additional reunion and networking events around the country, I would like to employ an injured serviceman I know to help me run the charity, with an office as a permanent base and meeting place for Style for Soldiers. I am very grateful to have received two £10,000 a year pledges, and would be very grateful for any further pledges or donations to help take Style for Soldiers in to the future, when the many injured former servicemen and women dispersed around the country will most need the reminder of our memory and gratitude.