Armed Forces Contribution to Society Commended by Nation’s Leaders at 13th Annual Soldiering On Awards

Ministerial and military leaders gathered to celebrate outstanding achievements within the Armed Forces community and praised the enduring sense of service and valuable contributions made by its members to the benefit of society.

The 2023 Soldiering On Awards honoured excellence and endeavour by individuals and organisations, including serving personnel, veterans and family members. The event showcased twelve diverse categories, in each of which a winner was announced, among a memorable evening of entertainment and speeches, attended by representatives from all three military services, military charities, and corporate supporters.

Presenter and journalist Jeremy Vine returned to host the 13th annual Soldiering On Awards, the primary awards programme that celebrates the whole military community, at the prestigious Park Plaza Westminster Hotel on the evening of Wednesday 27th September 2023.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Johnny Mercer MP, addressed the 450 guests to open the award announcements with praise for the Soldiering On Awards finalists, and collaborative theme behind the programme. Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Rt Hon. Johnny Mercer MP said:

I am determined to make the UK the best place in the world to be a veteran. And to do so, veterans need support from both the government and their communities. 

These awards celebrate those who help to make a difference for the better. I commend the spirit of collaboration, the shared sense of purpose and tireless dedication of the nominees, finalists and winners.

Chief of Defence People, Vice Admiral Phil Hally CB MBE, recognised the military community’s contribution to society in his address:

The British Armed Forces are made up of exceptional people who all share a common bond of trust, camaraderie and friendship and who deliver phenomenal things every day for our society.

Awards such as the Soldiering On Awards help to lift the lid on all these remarkable achievements and by doing so, inspire so many more. This year’s awards celebrate some of the most extraordinary talent from our Armed Forces and their families, each of whom commit and serve in their own way for our nation and deserve our highest praise.

Well known veterans sent encouraging video messages including adventurer Bear Grylls OBE, pilot and astronaut Major Tim Peake CMG and ‘SAS: Who Dares Wins’ Chief Instructor Billy Billingham. 

Bear Grylls said: 

The incredible Soldiering On Awards is such an important time of the year. The chance for all of us involved with the Armed Forces to celebrate people who’ve gone that extra mile to make a difference, to soldier on, to make a difference, and show what an incredible family we are part of.

Soldiering On Awards Co-Chair of Judges, General the Lord Dannatt GCB, CBE, MC, DL, explained the event’s importance as he completes a long commitment as judge:

The Soldiering On Awards call attention to the remarkable contributions of individuals and organisations in the Armed Forces community. Their stories of impressive endeavour, talent, dedication, and achievement serve as exemplary role models for each and every one of us, and it is right that they are recognised at the highest national level. It has been an honour to contribute to this celebration of excellence over the years, and I shall continue to share in celebrating these awards without the difficult decision of judging. Congratulations to all the winners, finalists, nominators and supporters.

Reflecting on the 2023 Soldiering On Awards cohort, Lt Col Ren Kapur MBE, Chief Executive of X-Forces Enterprise and Soldiering on Awards, commented:

It is both an honour and a privilege to lead the Soldiering On Awards and bring to life fascinating, inspirational stories from across the wider military family, stories that are multifaceted, like the people behind them.

The issue of equality lies close to my heart and, while there is more to be done in the years ahead, it is rewarding to see the diversity that is represented in our Armed Forces community being mirrored in our Soldiering On Awards finalists.

My sincere thanks go to Lord Dannatt, our Co-Chair of Judges, for his leadership, wisdom, and passion for these Awards.

The evening featured musical performances from Soprano Christina Johnston, the Corps of Drums of the Royal Logistic Corps, former Royal Marine Saxophonist Ryan Truzzi-Franconi, Army Cadet Piper Harry Gordon and live band ‘What The Funk’ fronted by Army Reserves Captain Doctor Andie Mitchell-Johnson.

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