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Sporting Excellence Award – Public Vote

Meet our Sporting Excellence Award Finalists

Sporting Excellence awards finalists

This award honours a person that has overcome challenges in pursuit of sporting excellence, demonstrating outstanding achievement in the field of sport and contributing to the endeavours and advancement of the Armed Forces Community. The winner of this award will be chosen through a public vote.

And for those who are going to join the voting process remember there are many ways Sporting Excellence can be recognised, we have excellence in all our four finalists;

  • a multi Invictus games medal winner and race across America record holder; Josh Boggi.
  • an epic walker of long-distance challenges; Jeffrey Long MBE.
  • a multi-world record holder for running marathons dressed as pieces of fruit; Sally Orange.
  • the first above-the-knee double amputee to scale the Matterhorn; Neil Heritage.

All four are worthy winners, but who captures your imagination? Read the articles; watch the videos and cast your vote. Voting goes live from 17:00, Monday 26th July. Voting will then close at 20:00 on Sunday 8th August. You can only vote once so make it count and spread the word!

 

This award is generously sponsored by Be Military Fit with Bear Grylls.

Be Military Fit is Europe’s largest outdoor fitness provider, founded on military inspired fitness and a dedication to training anyone, anywhere. Whilst offering support and employment to veterans, BMF encourages and inspires potential entrepreneurs to build their own business through our franchise model. The Human Performance side of the business delivers programmes to a range of public, commercial and sporting organisations. One of its major contracts supports the Army recruit candidate training process for over 20,000 individuals per annum.

Ivan Rowlatt, Director of Human Performance for BMF, said: “The Sporting Excellence Award honours a person or team that has overcome challenges, inspired others, and demonstrated outstanding achievement in the field of sport. BMF is extremely proud to be supporting the Soldiering On Awards and the fantastic 2021 Finalists. To be selected as a finalist amongst an incredibly high standard of nominees is an achievement for which they should be extremely proud. The finalists are all excellent role models, not just for the Armed Forces community, but for the country as a whole”.

Sporting Excellence awards finalists

This award honours a person that has overcome challenges in pursuit of sporting excellence, demonstrating outstanding achievement in the field of sport and contributing to the endeavours and advancement of the Armed Forces Community. The winner of this award will be chosen through a public vote.

And for those who are going to join the voting process remember there are many ways Sporting Excellence can be recognised, we have excellence in all our four finalists;

  • a multi Invictus games medal winner and race across America record holder; Josh Boggi.
  • an epic walker of long-distance challenges; Jeffrey Long MBE.
  • a multi-world record holder for running marathons dressed as pieces of fruit; Sally Orange.
  • the first above-the-knee double amputee to scale the Matterhorn; Neil Heritage.

All four are worthy winners, but who captures your imagination? Read the articles; watch the videos and cast your vote. Voting goes live from 17:00, Monday 26th July. Voting will then close at 20:00 on Sunday 8th August. You can only vote once so make it count and spread the word!

 

This award is generously sponsored by Be Military Fit with Bear Grylls.

Be Military Fit is Europe’s largest outdoor fitness provider, founded on military inspired fitness and a dedication to training anyone, anywhere. Whilst offering support and employment to veterans, BMF encourages and inspires potential entrepreneurs to build their own business through our franchise model. The Human Performance side of the business delivers programmes to a range of public, commercial and sporting organisations. One of its major contracts supports the Army recruit candidate training process for over 20,000 individuals per annum.

Ivan Rowlatt, Director of Human Performance for BMF, said: “The Sporting Excellence Award honours a person or team that has overcome challenges, inspired others, and demonstrated outstanding achievement in the field of sport. BMF is extremely proud to be supporting the Soldiering On Awards and the fantastic 2021 Finalists. To be selected as a finalist amongst an incredibly high standard of nominees is an achievement for which they should be extremely proud. The finalists are all excellent role models, not just for the Armed Forces community, but for the country as a whole”.

Neil Heritage

Neil Heritage is the embodiment of determination; he is the first double amputee to climb one of the world’s most daunting mountains.

The former Corporal lost both his legs to a suicide bomb in Iraq in 2004. Following his 11 year Army career, he was told he would never walk again.  Not to be defeated, Neil spent five years in rehabilitation then began competing in sporting events. This tenacious Blesma Member completed triathlons, learnt to ski and scuba dive, and became part of a four-man team of injured veterans to complete the 3,000-mile Row2Recovery race across the Atlantic Ocean.

 

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In 2016, Neil founded Climb2Recovery, a charity that supports wounded soldiers by using adventures and challenges to find purpose.

Neil set himself the immensely challenging target of summiting the Matterhorn. In his first attempt he neared the summit of the 14,692 ft high peak before terrible weather conditions forced him to turn back. Devastated at not reaching his goal, Neil took on the remarkable feat twice more.

Neil’s third attempt was complex due to COVID-19 restrictions, and he faced a knife-edge moment as one of his prosthetic limbs fell off 100 metres from the summit! Fortunately he managed to re-attach it and, despite contending with that obstacle, he reached the snow-capped peak to become the first above-the-knee double amputee to scale the Matterhorn!

This success was a remarkable personal achievement as a disabled climber needs around seven times the energy of an able-bodied counterpart.

“Neil’s mission was to test himself in a harsh sporting environment, inspire others to challenge themselves and, importantly, help them reconnect with society, make new friends, forge independence and re-discover their zest for life.”

The successful expedition raised more than £9,000 for Climb2Recovery which will be used directly to provide others with a route into sport and recovery.

“That moment on the summit is not just a fleeting headline or memory. It has a legacy that is empowering others into sport and physical endeavour.”

Josh Boggi

Josh Boggi sustained horrific injuries in 2010 while on tour in Afghanistan, resulting in the loss of three limbs. Nine years later, a near fatal road accident led to further amputation of part of his remaining stump. Josh contracted sepsis and was left fighting for his life. He spent 10 weeks in hospital, underwent 12 surgeries and 21 blood transfusions, and has only recently started to walk again.

Josh overcame these huge obstacles and never let them get him down. He doesn’t let his injuries define him, and most definitely does not let them stop him from trying anything.

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A keen sportsperson, Josh completed the Race Across America in a record time of 6 days, 12 hours and 36 minutes. He took part in the Invictus Games in 2014 and 2016, proudly picking up several medals. Proficient on land and in the sea, Josh is a qualified PADI rescue diver; he fancied trying scuba diving while on his honeymoon and very quickly became addicted. Training with Deptherapy, he become the world’s first triple amputee rescue diver!

“Josh is a happy go lucky person with a huge network of friends, and he’s really starting to make a difference. From sitting on amputee advisory boards to taking part in medical science research projects, if he can help someone else, he will.”

Josh has recently become involved with the Generation R project, delivering inspirational talks to schools and colleges – something he is hugely passionate about. He also works with Casualty Resources, an organisation that provides real amputee actors for Casualty Simulation Training, and he’s a committee member of the CASEVAC Club, supporting those injured on Herrick and Telic operations.

Josh loves nothing more than taking his son to football training – where he coaches the team. He has shown that nothing is impossible and you really can achieve anything you want.

“I am incredibly proud of him and what he has achieved, he amazes me with his true determination and grit.”

www.joshboggi.com

Sally Orange

Sally Orange has accomplished what most people could only dream of.

Thirteen marathons, three Guinness World Records, a 1000 mile cycle from John O’Groats to Lands’ End (on a specially adapted tandem bike supporting wounded veterans), a 140.6 mile Iron distance triathlon – these are just a few of Sally’s achievements during the pandemic of 2020. In addition, she has skied 250km across the Finnmark Plateau in the Arctic Circle, pulling a sled. And Sally completed all these challenges dressed as different pieces of fruit!

 

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Sally has raised over £500,000 for more than 30 charities while honouring the NHS and military, and changing the conversation on mental health. She ran the virtual London Marathon isolated in a pod of the iconic London Eye with the wheel representing the highs and lows of people’s emotions. Then she ran a marathon 1000m underground in a mine to highlight that one never knows what is going on beneath the surface in someone else’s mind.

“Sally helped to enable the opportunity for over 1600 Army cadets to take part in a mental health awareness training programme, leading to a further Guinness Book Record.”

Sally completed 22 years of exemplary service as an Army physiotherapist. She now works on the frontline at the NHS Nightingale Hospital, rehabilitating patients recovering from COVID-19. Sally has run 100 laps (100 miles) of the hospital in honour of Captain Sir Tom Moore, completed around her long shifts, wearing military uniform for half of the laps and hospital scrubs for the other half.

Sally has run over 60 marathons, completed the gruelling Marathon des Sables (150 miles across the Sahara), swum the English channel, cycled the length of New Zealand and led the first all-female wounded, injured and sick team in the world’s toughest cycle race. She is a 2016 Invictus Games medallist and 10 x World record holder.

“Sally inspires everyone she comes into contact with. Her enthusiasm, engagement and sheer energy is infectious and persuasive.”

www.sallyorange.com

Jeffrey Long MBE

Jeffrey Long MBE has a distinguished history of charity fundraising, mainly through epic walking challenges. His achievements are astonishing, varied and widespread, and his strength, tenacity and endurance are phenomenal!

Jeffrey served in The Paras for seven years but left the Army due to a back injury. Proud of his Service Record, Jeffrey wears combat gear on all his fund raising activities – which, to date, have raised over £300,000 for Forces Charities.

 

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For the past 4 years, Jeffrey has been challenged by cancer, coupled with a long term back injury sustained during parachuting whilst in service. Yet on 13 March 2021, aged 89, he began a 190 mile charity walk in celebration of both 100 years of The Royal British Legion and 90 years for Support Our Paras.

Jeffrey’s walking exploits are legendary and a testament to his sporting prowess – none more so than his 650 mile walk from London to Switzerland, aged 75. His other triumphs include a 12km Assault Course, a 127 mile walk from Liverpool to Leeds and 100 miles in 10 days between 10 RAF Stations.  His services were recognised in a private letter from the Prime Minister, and in 2018, he won the prestigious Times Sternbeck award.

“Jeffrey has proven exceptional strength of character, perseverance, tolerance and above all humility, and is dedicated to the pursuit of excellence. He has been honoured with an MBE, and an award from RBL in recognition of his outstanding services to charity.”

During lock down and within Covid Guidelines, Jeffrey walked 2.6 miles a day for 10 consecutive days for the London Marathon Challenge, plus hundreds of miles for The Lifeboats and RAF Benevolent Fund.

“Jeffrey Long MBE is a truly legendary character with a lively disposition, compassion and a wicked sense of humour! Approaching 90, he sees no relevance in age and will continue to walk as long as possible. His perseverance, energy and self-belief are an inspiration to all.”