The inaugural Endeavour Fund Awards, held in London this year, honored and celebrated the achievements of wounded, injured and sick Service Personnel and veterans involved in endeavors in 2016.
Attended by The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry, guests included members of The Royal Foundation, veterans and beneficiaries of the Endeavour Fund who have taken part in various endeavors over the last few years, Endeavour Fund grantees, supporters and donors, and nominees for this year’s awards.
As the Endeavour Fund’s Lead Corporate Partner since 2015, AIG had a strong presence at the event, with AIG Europe and UK CEO Anthony Baldwin presenting the first award of the evening. Other senior executives present included AIG Chief of Staff Rhodri Williams, Head of UK Regions Romaney O’Malley, UK Head of Broker Engagement Jeremy Sharpe, and UK COO Geoff Godwin.
Throughout the evening, The Endeavour Fund paid tribute to the late Lt. Col Henry Worsley who tragically died while attempting to cross the Antarctic continent solo and unsupported - something no one had done before. The Endeavour Fund named its top prize in honor of Henry as a small part of his legacy and to recognize his support to the Armed Forces Community.
Three special awards were presented on the night:
- The Endeavour Fund Award for the individual who has endeavored to achieve excellence in their chosen sport or adventurous challenge - presented to Nerys Pearce by Royal Foundation Chairman Sir Keith Mills and Anthony. Nerys served in the Royal Army Medical Corps as a medic for several years before she was paralyzed in a road traffic accident. Once an active sportsperson, she was confined to a wheelchair, but made the positive decision to re-engage with sport and made an incredible turnaround. Last year, Nerys was selected for the UK Armed Forces team at the 2016 Invictus Games in Orlando, participating in a range of sports from powerlifting and rowing, to swimming and athletics, and winning a commendable 10 medals.
- The Endeavour Fund Award for the individual who has best utilized their endeavor to promote and catalyze their recovery- presented to Martin Pollock. Jon Paul Nevin from Help for Heroes accepted the award from Prince Harry on Martin’s behalf. Martin lost both legs above the knee and his left arm above the elbow in an explosion, and had a hard time coping with the impact of his injuries during rehabilitation. That is, until he took part in Operation SURF. Martin had finally found his calling and explains that surfing didn’t change his life - it has become his life.
- The final award of the night was the The Henry Worsley Award– presented to Neil Heritage by The Duke of Cambridge and Henry’s children. The award recognized the individual “who has best inspired others through the demonstration of determination in the face of adversity whilst endeavoring to support others with their recovery through sport or adventurous challenge.” At 24, Neil became the first British soldier of the Iraq conflict to survive an above the knee double amputation after being blown up by a suicide bomber in 2004. Although he survived, Neil was told he would never walk again. His extraordinary spirit and determination have been inspirational as he continues to challenge medical opinion, proving that there is life beyond injury. He has completed triathlons, learned to ski, and rowed across the Atlantic Ocean in the Row2Recovery team. He also founded Climb 2 Recovery. In 2016, Neil attempted to summit the Matterhorn, and will return to have another go in 2017.
Commenting on the awards, Anthony said, “These are remarkable people of extraordinary courage – this evening has proved that adversity is no match for the human spirit. In the last year and a half, our partnership with the Endeavour Fund has given us a deep understanding of the challenges our injured veterans face, and I’m proud that AIG is able to play a part in helping our armed forces rediscover their resilience, strength, and fighting spirit.”