The Trust marked its official launch on 24th March 2011 with an event held at ‘86’ bar and restaurant on the Fulham road in London. The venue added some glitz and glamour to a highly attended evening that successfully raised approximately £30,000 pounds and introduced the charity to a large audience for the first time.
The night kicked off with a champagne reception from 7.30pm, with attendees generously participating in the raffle and silent auction that were on display. The Trust was overwhelmed by the fantastic prizes that had been donated to the event with prizes ranging from trips to India and a day at the Silverstone Grand Prix to various wine prizes and stalking days in Somerset to name but a few.
Whilst the fundraising produced a fantastic result, the purpose of the evening was also to communicate the aims and objectives of Dougies charity. The Trust was delighted to welcome its Patron General Sir David Richards, Chief of the Defence Staff, to join others in making some short speeches to give colour to the charity, its purpose and the beneficiaries we are aiming to help.
General Sir David spoke powerfully about the importance of the British Armed Forces in Afghanistan and indeed elsewhere in the world and the necessary sacrifices that this entails. His words were poignant but reminded us all of the vital role our service men and women play in ensuring not only our security but also the protection those less fortunate around the globe. The General praised Dougie, his Military Cross and all that he achieved whilst serving in Afghanistan before explaining the direct link between Dougie's deep concern for his men and the charitable aims that the Trust stands for today. Please visit: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12857134
The General was followed by Spencer Jones, Welfare officer 1 to the Coldstream Guards, who spoke about the soldiers who need assistance and the types of physical and mental trauma that service men and women undergo. As Welfare Officer for the Coldstream Guards, Spencer gave a valuable insight into the experiences and cases that he has had to deal with, giving an excellent account of the target beneficiaries Dougies Trust is aiming to help.
David Sage, Dougie's uncle, spoke next about his experiences in the last 12 months around his fundraising efforts as well as his trip on the Jubilee Trust Tall Ship in Las Palmas with various injured servicemen, which was funded by monies raised by Dougies Trust. The inspiration he drew from the men and the impact the trip had on these injured servicemen was moving and served as a great example of the different types of help, and indeed fundraising events, that can be used to help injured soldiers.
Anthony Robinson, Development Director of the Radley Foundation and Radley Armed Forces Fund spoke lastly on the new initiative being set up at Radley College and in association with the Lt. Dougie Dalzell MC Memorial Trust. The Fund aims to finance secondary education at an independent boarding school for the sons and daughters of service men or women killed while serving their country or discharged as a result of their wounds or injuries. Radley College, Downe House and St Mary's Calne are all schools that are committed to this cause.
And finally, Anthony Dalzell closed the speeches with a big thank you to those in attendance and those involved in organising the event and gave a large toast to Dougie. The evening continued into the night with much frivolity and dancing and James Broderick gave an impressive turn as a bingo hall announcer when calling the raffle prizes!
The night was a huge success and a big thank you goes out to everyone that attended and gave so generously. We hope that your support continues in the future and we look forward to the next stage in the Trust's journey.
Photographs by Amy Parton