THE CITY VETERANS’ NETWORK
NEWS & PRESS
News from the Network and features in the Press
CVN ANNUAL DINNER 2018
Thursday 1 November 2018 saw over 300 guests attend the City Veterans’ Network fourth annual gala dinner at the Imperial War Museum, in London. This year’s dinner, in the Centenary of the end of the Great War, brought together serving and retired members of the Armed Forces, with representatives from City of London firms and institutions and a number of celebrities, to raise funds for three charities that support Veterans: Blesma, The Not Forgotten Association and The Royal Foundation. Welcoming guests, City Veterans’ Network Chairman and Founder, Tom Isaac, himself a Veteran and now EMEA Head of Corporate Banking at Citi, highlighted the longstanding links between the Armed Forces and the City of London. Mr Isaac praised the support that the Financial Services industry continues to give to Veterans and Reservists, both in work and in life, through employment opportunities and its generosity to Veterans’ charities. Greeted by a resplendent Guard of Honour provided by the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, guests were treated to a gin reception, courtesy of Halewood, sporting some of the country’s finest artisanal gins and once they were seated, by a stunning performance from soprano, Alicia Lowes and music from the excellent band of The Royal Yeomanry. Actor and Veteran, Darren “Swifty” Swift, who lost both legs in an IRA bomb blast in 1991, while serving with the Army’s Dog Unit in Belfast, gave a moving speech about his road to recovery and how he is using his story to inspire and motivate others in a project devised by Blesma, where injured servicemen and women deliver talks to schools about overcoming adversity. Over dinner, guests were led through the charity auction by Lord Jeffrey Archer, with lucky bidders heading off to hurtle down the Cresta Run in St Moritz, assault beaches with the Royal Marines and fly in historic aircraft as a part of the Armistice Fly-past, amongst other matchless experiences. The superb wines were generously donated by Justerini & Brooks. The evening raised over £100,000 for the three Veterans’ charities.
Save the 2018 date!
In the Centenary of the end of the Great War, we invite you to save the date for the City Veterans’ Network Gala Dinner Imperial War Museum London Thursday 1 November 2018 Back for the fourth year the City Veterans’ Network will be raising funds for three Veterans’ Charities. In 2018 we are supporting BLESMA, the Not Forgotten Association and The Royal Foundation that each support Veterans in a different, but important way. Join City seniors, military veterans and celebrities at the iconic IWM London to raise funds for those who have served and their families. Please mark the date in your diary so you can enjoy this informative and entertaining evening with us and really help make a difference. https://www.cityvetnet.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/City-Veterans-Network-Annual-Dinner-2017_1.mp4
Financial Forces Networking
Financial Forces: CVN networking afternoon Thursday 26th April saw the City Veterans’ Network host its third annual ‘Financial Forces’ networking event at HMS President. Building on the success of our previous events, we were proud to host 14 employers from across the City. Ex-military employees spoke to 80 Service Leavers of all ranks, from the British Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy. Jonny Laws, who has helped organise the event since 2016, said “The idea behind these events is a very simple one – to get people talking to each other. There’s no set agenda, and the emphasis is on sharing experiences.” HR representatives and ex-service men and women from across the Financial Services were on hand to share transition advice and job opportunities, as well as discuss details of their military internships and work experience programmes. We would like to thank the following organisations for their support with such a successful event: Citi Bank of America Meryl Lynch BNY Mellon KPMG JP Morgan Barclays Goldman Sachs Lloyds of London Canaccord UBS The Officers’ Association We would also like to thank the Greater London RFCA and HMS President for facilitating the event.
CVN Annual Dinner 2017
The City Veterans’ Network Annual Dinner 2017 Thursday 9th November saw nearly 300 guests come to the Imperial War Museum for our third Annual Dinner in aid of the Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre (DNRC). We were delighted to be joined by HRH the Duke of Cambridge as well as serving and retired senior members of the Armed Forces and representatives from many City Firms and Institutions. We raised almost £250,000 for this excellent cause, principally through an auction presided over by Lord Archer who, along with the Committee, was bowled over by the generosity of the audience on the night. A fantastic evening was had by all and we look forward to releasing details of the 2018 Dinner shortly.
Please save the date for the City Veterans’ Network Gala Dinner 2017 Thursday 9th November 2017 . . . . . . . . Thursday 9th November 2017 will mark the City Veteran’s Network’s 3rd Annual Dinner. 300 guests will join celebrities, members of the Armed Forces and City seniors to raise funds for the Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre (DNRC) and recognise the role of Veterans in the City. The DNRC is a new facility that is being funded solely by public donations, both large and small, and will replace the well-known Headley Court facility that has operated for many years. We are returning to the iconic Imperial War museum, an excellent venue with some brilliant and thought provoking displays and equipment for you to explore before and after dinner. There will be a distinct military theme throughout the evening with music from regimental bands, military prizes in the auction as well as serving members of the Armed Forces. We very much hope that you will join us to support this excellent cause.
City Veterans Network launch the London Poppy Day Dinner
On the hottest September day since before the First World War your correspondent found himself in the Field Marshall’s Room at the Cavalry & Guards Club, surrounded by men and women cheerfully refusing to acknowledge the sweltering temperatures in their suits and regimental ties, under the approving gaze of their predecessors’ portraits – some veterans of said war – who would invariably have upheld similar standards, albeit in far flung corners of the Empire. It is this combination of high standards and a can-do mind-set that brought us together in early September. The City Veterans Network (CVN) were again launching their annual fund raising dinner to mark the start of London Poppy Day, held this year at the Hurlingham Club on Wednesday 2nd November. The idea behind the CVN is the coordination of hiring by City institutions of ex-servicemen and women who can bring to bear the leadership, determination and adaptability forged in often rather less salubrious surroundings. The Launch Party drinks were enlivened somewhat with the arrival of one of the CVN’s Patrons, Miss Elizabeth Hurley – a veteran herself of such dinners and a wonderful ambassador for the CVN’s work. Elizabeth spoke at length with one of her co-Patrons, Mr Jim Cowles, Citi’s EMEA CEO, a generous supporter both morally and financially of the Network from its birth in 2014. Army Generals mixed with Government Ministers, Charity Patrons and injured servicemen whilst senior financiers – Michael Cole-Fontayn, BNY Mellon’s EMEA Chairman for instance – spoke at length about the benefit to his organisation of hiring former soldiers, sailors and airmen. Will Packard, Sid Welham, Andy Thomson, Pete Flynn, Alex MacEwen and Francis Roseman, the event’s organisers, briefed the crowd on the hard sell of table sales, sugaring the pill with mention of glamorous prizes which ranged from Anti-hijack driving days with the Metropolitan Police, Sniper Training Days and Guard Mount followed by lunch with the Household Cavalry, to dinner at Robin Birley’s 5 Hertford Street, evenings at Garsington Opera or careering down an icy slope on the Cresta Run in St Moritz. Reception hosted by the City Veteran’s Network ahead of its annual London Poppy Day Dinner in aid of The Royal British Legion and other military charities on Tuesday 13 Sept. 2016. Photo by Mark Allan Elizabeth Hurley joins Citibank’s EMEA CEO Jim Cowles at a reception hosted by the City Veteran’s Network ahead of its annual London Poppy Day Dinner in aid of The Royal British Legion and other military charities on Tuesday 13 Sept. 2016. Photo by Mark Allan Trinny Woodhall and Elizabeth Hurley join Citibank’s EMEA CEO Jim Cowles at a reception hosted by the City Veteran’s Network ahead of its annual London Poppy Day Dinner in aid of The Royal British Legion and other military charities on Tuesday 13 Sept. 2016. Photo by Mark Allan Reception hosted by the City Veteran’s Network ahead of its annual London Poppy Day Dinner in aid of The Royal British Legion and other military charities on Tuesday 13 Sept. 2016. Photo by Mark Allan Reception hosted by the City Veteran’s Network ahead of its annual London Poppy Day Dinner in aid of The Royal British Legion and other military charities on Tuesday 13 Sept. 2016. Photo by Mark Allan Reception hosted by the City Veteran’s Network ahead of its annual London Poppy Day Dinner in aid of The Royal British Legion and other military charities on Tuesday 13 Sept. 2016. Photo by Mark Allan
2016 Dinner Announced
Save the date! Details of the 2016 dinner, which will incorporate London Poppy Day, have been announced. 2016 City Veterans’ Network London Poppy Day Dinner Wednesday 2nd November 2016 The Hurlingham Club, London Join us on Wednesday 2nd November to recognise Veterans and support Forces Charities at the City Veterans’ Network London Poppy Day Dinner at the Hurlingham Club. Further information about the annual dinner is available here and registration for tickets will open in summer 2016.
2015 Dinner Press Coverage
The first City Veterans’ Network dinner, on Thursday 5th November 2015, was supported by the press with strong coverage. Click the mastheads to read the articles:
PRESS RELEASE: First City Veterans’ Network Gala Dinner Raises £120,000
Press Release: November 13th 2015 First City Veterans’ Network Gala Dinner Raises £120,000 London firms have raised more than £120,000 for three military charities at a high profile event supported by celebrity Elizabeth Hurley. Banks, legal firms, asset managers and consultancies rallied to support the inaugural City Veterans’ Network (CVN) charity gala dinner for 320 guests. Celebrities, including Elizabeth Hurley and Vicki Michelle, and serving servicemen and women joined members of these companies and their guests at the Imperial War Museum on November 5th. Funds were raised for SkillForce, which employs ex service personnel to teach children and young people self confidence and resilience skills for life and work; Blesma, The Limbless Veterans, which assists limbless veterans and their families to lead independent and fulfilling lives; and Combat Stress, the leading veterans’ mental health charity. Ben Slade, Chief Executive, SkillForce, said: “It was a real honour to represent SkillForce at this amazing event and in such an awe-inspiring setting – particularly poignant at this time of the year. It was humbling to hear the veterans’ stories and to share with guests the incredible work of SkillForce, which is transformational for our staff who are predominantly ex service personnel and the young people whom they support.” Brigadier Barry Le Grys, Chief Executive, Blesma, said: “Blesma members really appreciate the huge support given by the City Veterans’ Network and all the guests. Limb loss presents challenges through life but with support such as this our members can be positive and reach their full potential in society.” Lieutenant General Andrew Graham, Chairman, Combat Stress, said: “We are hugely grateful for the generosity of the City Veterans’ Network. It was an honour for Combat Stress to be selected as a beneficiary charity for their inaugural dinner. The support raised will go to ensure that we can help the many ex service men and women to live fulfilling lives free from the harmful effects of psychological illness.’’ The funds were raised through a combination of a live auction, a silent auction and pledges. Keynote speakers at the event included: Martin Bonner, who spent 25 years altogether with the RAF as a physical training instructor, and a parachuting instructor. Martin has worked for SkillForce since 2011 in schools on educational programmes that draw on the skills of ex service personnel to build children and young people’s character, self confidence and resilience; skills for education, life and work. Mark Ormrod, a former Royal Marines Commando, is the UK’s first triple amputee to survive the Afghanistan conflict, and has been helped by Blesma since first being injured. When he was on foot patrol in 2007 in Helmand Province, he stepped on an improvised explosive device and lost three limbs. He was told he should prepare himself for spending the rest of his life in a wheelchair but has learnt to walk again using prosthetic limbs. He is now a motivational speaker and an award-winning author. Shaun Johnson is an armed forces veteran turned actor whose recent credits include playing Hamlet at the Shakespeare’s Globe London with The Combat Veteran Players, an award-winning Shakespearean theatre company comprised of ex service personnel overcoming injury. Shaun served 11 years with the Royal Artillery and is a former Combat Stress client. The CVN is comprised of member firms from across the City and UK financial services industry and aims to share best practice on employing ex servicemen and women. It was formed in October 2014 by a group of London’s financial industry professionals who had served in the military in the past including senior staff at Citigroup. Jim Cowles, Chief Executive, Citi EMEA, added: “I am glad to say Citi has been a leader in the employment of military veterans, and we welcome the particular and unrivalled skills they bring to an institution like ours. We give our fullest support to CVN, and I urge my colleagues in London’s financial services industry to do likewise.” For more information on the CVN go to https://www.cityvetnet.uk/ Follow the CVN on Twitter @CityVetNet. ENDS Notes to editors: SkillForce is a national education charity that works with schools to transform lives. SkillForce currently supports young people in 200 primary and secondary schools across Wales, England and Scotland, preparing them for their next steps in education, work or training. The charity draws on the skills of predominantly ex service personnel. Instructors deliver motivational mentoring and proven education programmes which develop self confidence, resilience and character. HRH The Duke of Cambridge KG KT is SkillForce’s Royal Patron. Go to http://www.skillforce.org Combat Stress is the UK’s leading mental health charity for veterans, providing specialist clinical treatment and welfare support to ex service men and women across the UK. Founded in 1919, the charity has since supported more than 100,000 veterans with mental health conditions including depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder. Today, Combat Stress is helping more than 5,900 veterans, aged 18 to 97, rebuild their lives through a range of free services. combatstress.org.uk Blesma, The Limbless Veterans helps all serving and ex service men and women who have lost limbs, or lost the use of limbs or eyes, to rebuild their lives by providing rehabilitation activities and welfare support. Our programmes allow members and their families to face the challenges ahead with renewed confidence and self-belief. http://blesma.org Media contact: Mary Hampshire, Head of Public Relations, SkillForce. Tel: 07985 779078. Email: email@example.com Photo credit: Ben Stevens. Elizabeth Hurley with Marc Ormrod, triple amputee, representing Blesma Martin Withers, DFC, flew Vulcans in 1982, Will Packard, founding member of CVN and Citi, Vicki Michelle Two jpegs attached. Celebrity Liz Hurley with triple amputee Mark Ormrod at the City Veterans’ Network charity gala dinner. Photo credit: Ben Stevens.
Our Auction is Online!
The City Veterans Network Charity Auction will be a Silent Auction, run by Givergy which will run throughout the evening, and for half an hour at 10 pm, Hugh Edmeades will beg your attention for some very exciting prizes indeed. In over 30 years as an auctioneer at Christie’s, Hugh has conducted more than 2,200 auctions, selling 290,000 lots for a total sum in excess of £1.85 billion. Hugh has auctioned works of art from a number of historic collections including those of H.R.H. the late Princess Margaret, the Spencer collections at Althorp, the collection of the late Simon Sainsbury, and in December 2011, part of the Elizabeth Taylor Collection in New York. Throughout his career has conducted over 600 sales raising in excess of £73 million for charitable causes and in 2008 he conducted the auction for Nelson Mandela’s 90th Birthday Gala in London, selling the eight lots for a total of £4.3 million. Do click here for the prizes themselves… cityvetnet-auction.com/lite-ui/#home
With less than a month to go, invites have been sent out and the evening’s running order has taken much firmer shape; The evening will begin at 7 pm with champagne and cocktails amongst the exhibits on the ground floor gallery. We will have current and retired servicemen and women on hand to talk you through the key pieces. Do try to catch John Nichol & John Peters – the RAF Tornado crew that, you may remember, were shot down and captured during the Gulf War in 1991 – they are together at a charity event for the first time since leaving the Royal Air Force 20 years ago and have a fascinating story to tell. They will be standing in front of the Lancaster Bomber! Thereafter listen out for the Royal Artillery band signalling the start of dinner at 8 pm sharp. During your meal there will be speakers from the three charities we are supporting this year – BLESMA, Combat Stress and SkillForce to give context to why we will all be there. At 10 pm, toward the end of your meal, Hugh Edmeades of Christie’s will command your attention for half an hour for an auction. We have had a spectacular array of prizes donated for the night including a training day with the world famous Special Air Service, a day with the Bomb Disposal Team, a weekend in Paris with Hermes or a three day long Polo party in India, flights included. More detail on these will be posted here on the site shortly. With some beautiful music to end the evening, we will bid you goodnight at 11 pm and look forward to seeing you again next year.
Tuesday 15th September saw the Launch Party for stakeholders, supporters and Charities held at Loulou’s, downstairs at Robin Birley’s 5 Hertford Street. The evening was a resounding success, with table hosts from the banks meeting the beneficiaries of the Charities, and army Generals swapping stories with the Charities’ Patrons. The atmosphere was one of excitement and enthusiasm as the idea of a Network spanning across the City and throughout the UK Financial Services world was turned over and analysed, and the potential to really benefit both the industry and service-leavers alike revealed. When Jim Cowles, the EMEA CEO at Citi stood up briefly to talk, he was genuinely warmly received. “We are honoured and proud to have taken a leading role in the employment of ex-military personnel, and welcome the unique qualities that they can bring to an institution like Citi,” He went on to add “I urge colleagues in financial services to support this gala dinner and the three charities for which CVN will be raising much-needed funds”. Guests were treated to Coates & Seely champagne (or ‘Britagne’ – it’s made in Hampshire), kindly donated by Nicholas Coates and Christian Seely, and were sent home with a clear idea of what needs to be achieved over the next 2 months to deliver a really outstanding evening in November! Will Packard from Citi Will Dixon and Simon Harmer, both BLESMA beneficiaries Tina Fordham, Citi’s Chief Global Political Analyst The UBS team – Carolina Lane, Tim Eastwood (former Household Cavalry) and Holly Linfield Pete Flynn from UBS with Nicola Wearing Our three charities – Nicola Wearing from Combat Stress, Lizz Manning from SkillForce and Barbara Warner from BLESMA Our generous sponsor, Nicholas Coates of Coates & Seely talks to Liz Manning of SkillForce Jim Cowles, EMEA CEO for Citi talks about why Citi is supporting the Network Jim Cowles talks to the evening’s organisers, Will Packard and Francis Roseman from Citi Holly Linfield, UBS General Sir Peter Wall talks to Michael Cole-Fontayne BNY Mellon EMEA Chairman Emma Willis with Pete Flynn, UBS David Poole from Citi talking to Will Dixon from Barclays (and a BLESMA beneficiary) Colonel Hugh Boddington, Chief of Staff – London District talks to Barbara Warner of BLESMA Claude Kamga from Private Equity firm KKR Citi Lancers – Will Packard and Lawrence Whittingham talk to Tina Fordham Brigadier Barry le Grys of BLESMA hosts Gen Sir Peter and and Michael Cole-Fontayne, BNY Mellon Andy Thompson (late Colonel Royal Artillery) of UBS talks to Tina Fordham
3 Months To Go!
Update (21 August 2015): 3 months out and things are running according to plan. We have sold all but 4 of the tables and have secured a number of exciting auction prizes from unique military insights, sporting experiences and art. We have also been fortunate enough to have several patrons of the charities we are supporting, as well as a number of both senior Generals & younger officers with recent experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, sign up to host our guests for the evening, adding colour and substance to the narrative that will be provided by our speakers. More immediately, our Launch Party will be held next month, courtesy of Robin Birley and the team at his London club, 5 Hertford Street. Here the Organising Team will meet all of the stakeholders of the event – Banks’ CEOs, Heads of Charities and Prize Donors – to give them a feeling of how things are going and to send them away in turn with a message and a picture to paint for their guests. In a sentence, as the date creeps closer, deadlines are being met and the event is taking shape – it should be an excellent night!
Gratitude is extended to these organisations that support the City Veterans' Network
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