Edition 27

This week, read all about what happened at Guildhall Dinner, there’s news of a Vice Patron appointment, a new Guinness World Record, the latest from the intrepid Cockleshell 22 team – and there are more fantastic RM gift ideas.  

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All the news from Guildhall Dinner  

In what was a truly wonderful and unforgettable evening, we are thrilled to report that last week’s Guildhall Dinner in London raised over £960,000 for RMA – The Royal Marines Charity, with pledges of support still being received.  

In thanking the supreme generosity of leading sponsors, Keith Breslauer and Patron Capital, and all those who made the evening such a success, Mrs Lynn Fordham, Chair of Trustees RMA – The Royal Marines Charity, said: “We extend a truly heartfelt thank you to everyone involved and to all who so generously dug-deep during these particularly challenging economic times.

Be assured we are committed to ensuring that the support the Charity provides remains as cost-effective as it can be in even better service of an extraordinary force and community – the Royal Marines Family.” 

The 500+ guests, including dignitaries, corporate and individual supporters, serving and veteran Royal Marines, were greeted to the rousing music of The Band of His Majesty’s Royal Marines, Portsmouth who continued to provide colourful pomp and ceremony throughout the often-times emotionally-charged evening. The event was hosted by television presenter, Invictus Games medallist and former Royal Marine JJ Chalmers; with MC Lieutenant Colonel Jason Burcham, Principal Director of Music Royal Marines.  

Auction Action

The Live Auction is always one of the highlights of the evening, and this year was no exception. Lord Jeffrey Archer took charge over proceedings in achieving the very best bids possible for the exceptional lots up for grabs, many of which were unique, bespoke or not normally available to the general public.  

One of the hottest items of the evening was the magnificent bespoke Royal Enfield motorcycle made by Saltire Motorcycles of Edinburgh that sold for £60,000. Sporting RM colours with subtly-etched nods to RM Commando 80 and Falklands 40, it was one of 90-plus lots most generously donated by supporters of the Charity.

Prestigious Sword of Honour awarded

Another much-anticipated highlight of Guildhall Dinner is the presentation of the prestigious Sir Donald Gosling Sword of Honour which this year was awarded to the NatWest Retail Banking Group and presented to David Lindberg, CEO of Retail Banking by General Sir Gordon Messenger KCB DSO* OBE DL Patron, RMA – The Royal Marines Charity.  

The Sword is a Royal Marines Officers’ sword individually commissioned in 2014 to celebrate the 350th Anniversary of the Royal Marines. It is presented annually to the business that has provided the most significant corporate support to the Charity over the past 12 months. 

Sir Donald Gosling was a tremendous supporter of RMA and other Naval Service charities and it is the wish of his family that his name, legacy and association with RMA continues through this annual presentation.

RMA – The Royal Marines Charity Chief Executive, Jonathan Ball (pictured background left) said: “David and NatWest Retail are thoroughly deserving of this honour. They have been generous and constant supporters of the Charity throughout the past year, in particular showing their enthusiasm for the Commando Mindset resilience training offered on behalf of the Charity by wounded Royal Marines veterans, Jon White and Joe Winch.”

Vice Patron appointment

We’re delighted to announce that Keith Breslauer, award-winning businessman, philanthropist and Managing Partner of London-based Patron Capital Partners is to assume the role of Vice Patron RMA – The Royal Marines Charity with immediate effect. 

This prestigious appointment is in recognition of Keith’s unique contribution and support for the Royal Marines Corps Family for over a decade and comes as the time approaches when he will have served the maximum period of time permitted as a trustee, and so has to step down from the role he has held since 2014.

During that time, he has been responsible for contributing in excess of £4m to RMA – The Royal Marines Charity, not only through his own donations but also through spearheading sponsored events and other fundraising efforts. This includes being the principal sponsor and driving force behind the incredible success over the past six years of our flagship fundraising Guildhall Dinner that in 2021 raised £1m.

Jonathan Ball, Chief Executive  of RMA – The Royal Marines Charity said: “Keith is a unique force of nature. To have someone of such high personal and business calibre join a former very senior military officer in General Sir Gordon Messenger as our Patron and alongside fellow Vice Patron Bob Wigley, is an enormous honour and privilege. It gives the Charity huge reach into the wider world outside the Corps Family.

Seeking Chief Operating Officer

The Board and Chief Executive (CE) of RMA – The Royal Marines Charity are seeking an outcomes-focused, experienced, strategic, and process-minded leader, capable of closely supporting the CE and contributing effectively to the Senior Leadership Team, leading the Operations staff and enabling every member of a unique, diverse and talented whole charity team to thrive and excel.

Potential candidates for this unique and exciting opportunity will be highly motivated and experienced professionals seeking to assume a pivotal role in the evolution of a fast growing and respected national charity.

Location – Portsmouth or Exeter: £ Excellent: RMA – The Royal Marines Charity is an equal opportunities employer.

If you, or anyone you know might be interested in applying, please feel free to contact our retained consultant – Simon Bell at Grays Search and Selection on (+44) 0766 714 951 for an initial discussion. More details below.

The closing date for applications is Tuesday 3rd January, 2023.

Hats off to Cockleshell 22

“On behalf of the whole Royal Marines Family, you make us so proud – and we can’t thank you enough for including us in your fundraising. Without such dedicated support, the Charity would not be able to continue its vital work. We wish you fair weather and will be following you every step of the way.”

It was with these words that our Fundraising team gave some ‘humble support’ to the fantastic Cockleshell 22 Op Frankton team as they were about to head over to France from Portsmouth last Friday at the start of recreating the World War II Op Frankton mission. This was undertaken by the heroic team of Royal Marines Commandos later known as ‘the Cockleshell Heroes’ and is an iconic part of the RMs proud history.

Although recreations have been done before in past remembrances, this is the first time that the entire route has been retraced in its entirety on the exact same dates and ‘very cold’ time of year. The epic venture is incorporating both the 80-mile kayak paddle and the 100-mile yomp elements of the mission.

Veteran RM and team member Steve Martindale, said: “This mission will test us in every way, but hopefully it’s a fitting tribute to what that incredible team of 10 men did for our country 80 years’ ago. Their efforts created what we know as the Special Boat Service today, so we want to mark the anniversary by raising whatever funds we can for the three brilliant charities that do such amazing work for the Armed Forces community. 

“I can’t believe that what started out as a bit of a crazy idea between mates is now happening.”

Business Class!  

As reported last week, RMA – The Royal Marines Charity (Chief Executive Jonathan Ball, 2nd left: Trustee Ryan Nast, 2nd right & Tony Radford, Employment & Education Relationship Co-ordinator – middle) proudly accepted our Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award from Air Marshall Sir Rich Knighton KCB and Brigadier Marc Overton TD DL VR at a ceremony in London. This is the highest badge of honour granted by the Ministry of Defence as part of its’ Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS).

In further carrying out one of the Charity’s ERS commitments, our E&E team is currently guiding two more of the companies with which it closely works, towards also aligning its values with the Armed Forces Covenant.

ERS Awards are given to employer organisations that demonstrate excellence in supporting those in the defence and armed forces community and their families, and – by aligning their values to the Armed Forces Covenant – inspiring others to do the same.

Also this week, the E&E team made some valuable new contacts for potential work experience and open days for transitioning Royal Marines or veteran Royal Marines, at the latest session of Bootnecks in2 Business, hosted by Anduril in London.

Bootnecks in2 Business connects Royal Marines with business and recruiting opportunities, ensuring that every former Royal Marines Commando, irrespective of rank or specialisation, leverages the Royal Marines network with introductions made via former Royal Marines businessmen.

World Record congratulations!

We’ve been absolutely thrilled to learn that one of our fantastic fundraisers has received confirmation of a Guinness World Record gained whilst taking part in an IRONMAN® triathlon in Kalmar, Sweden over the summer!

John Vann from Tamworth in Staffordshire and a former Royal Engineer Reserve with 131 Cdo, can now proudly say he holds the Guinness World Record for  ‘The fastest time to complete an IRONMAN® triathlon carrying a 40-lb pack (male)’. He carried this load throughout the 2.4-mile swim/112-mile bike and 26.2-mile run – and did it all in astonishing 16 hours 19 minutes 52 seconds!

He’s raised close to £800 (inc gift aid) in honour of the Falklands 40th anniversary and the 80th of the RMs taking on the Commando role. John says: “Never again?? Well, I think if I train better for it this time, I should be able to break 15:30, so watch this space!”

Looking for a special gift idea? 

Then look no further! 

The Royal Marines Shop, located in Plymouth, is wholly owned by RMA – The Royal Marines Charity and all profits come back to the Charity to help support the Corps Family.

The small team sources, designs, develops and fulfils a fantastically wide range of Corps branded products that are also available for sale online.

51st Mountbatten Festival of Music

The Massed Bands of His Majesty’s Royal Marines will play two spectacular evening concerts and a Saturday matinee at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Friday 10th and Saturday 11th March 2023 to raise funds for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charities. Don’t delay – check it out here – tickets are selling fast.  

Bootnecks in2 Business connects Royal Marines with business and recruiting opportunities, ensuring that every former Royal Marines Commando, irrespective of rank or specialisation, leverages the Royal Marines network with introductions made via former Royal Marines businessmen.