More than 300 supporters, VIPs, volunteers and staff gathered to mark the inaugural Soldier On National Fundraising Ball at the Hyatt Hotel, Canberra. Held on August 29, the who’s who of Defence were there to show their support for wounded Australians across the country. Delivering the keynote speech, former Prime Minister and Soldier On Ambassador Mr John Howard said that the charity represented what was good about the nation. He joined other special guests such as members of the Australian parliament, current and former chiefs of service, media personalities such as Hugh Riminton, Jessica Rowe and Peter Overton, Victoria Cross and Cross of Valour Recipients, and the evening’s MC Anthony “Lehmo” Lehmann. Two of the Cross of Valour recipients, Sergeant Timothy Britten CV and Mr Allan Sparkes CV,VA are Soldier On Ambassadors.
The live and silent auctions, combined with a champagne raffle and donations on the night, saw more than $200,000 raised for Soldier On’s activities. The charity’s Trois Etapes team, which comprised a group of veterans from throughout the country and from various services, was also celebrated with two of the riders, Andy and Chad interviewed about their experiences.
Soldier On CEO, John Bale, said the evening was a great success and that he hoped the evening the event would inspire government and business to invest in wounded men and women for the long term. “After tonight, no one can doubt the level of support shown for our wounded by the wider Australian public,” John said. “By working with Soldier On, government and corporate sponsors can assist us in providing on the ground support to all our veteran, both serving and ex-serving.”