Our Armed Forces Day get together was one that I will remember for some time. We had the perfect mix – my family, some great friends and lots of food. And a cheeky glass of fizz!
We started off proceedings with ‘adventures’ around my house to find monsters with my nephew (seemed completely normal at the time), which was followed by lots of catch ups & introductions. Really great for my brother to meet some of my nearest & dearest friends – big thank you to Sarah & John, along with my best bud Nat for coming along. Due to the delightful weather that we have Manchester, we weren’t able to hold 3 legged races, but we did have a fun afternoon regardless. One of the highlights was the cake that we made for the occassion.
The fun aside, the whole point of the day was to raise some extra funds for the Help for Heroes [21:21] Challenge project, and also to recognise Armed Forces Day. And having Nick back from Afghanistan on such a day was just brilliant.
Towards the end of the afternoon, my Mum had asked me to present the piece I’d pulled together on the project. It’s only about 7/8 slides, but gives a general overview of the reasoning behind why I set up [21:21] and how people could get involved. Now I’m a big believer of less is more when it comes to presentations, so this had minimal words, and generally just used pictures. Bearing in mind that it’s usually pitched at people who don’t know me, it was quite weird to present to my family & friends. Anyone who’s knows about the project, knows that at it’s core, is the fact I’m doing this to support my brother and his efforts as a Royal Marine Commando. So having him less than a metre from me while I was presenting this brought on great emotion.
The picture above is slide 6 in my presentation, and highlights the absolute horror of war – I’m sure you can see why I found it incredibly difficult to continue given the audience. I can’t describe it in words – I completely chocked up. I was seriously fighting back the tears. For the first time it really kicked in what Nick is doing out there, and how he is risking his life on a daily basis. I managed to wipe the tears away before they ran down my cheek. But then I thought to myself, STOP IT.
I need to stay strong. Stay strong for Nick. Stay strong for him and for all the other guys out there. They need to know that we have their back, that we support them each and every day.
Armed Forces Day is such a beautiful thing, showing not just those currently serving, but all those who have ever fought for our country, that we value their work and we value them. We respect what they do, but we support them as soldiers, as marines, as brothers, as fathers, as our heroes.
And Nick, do me a favour mate – stay safe little bro. Go back out there and give your all, but come back home. Come back safe. We all love you. You’re a complete legend & I’m so proud to be your big brother.
Help for Heroes [21:21] Challenge