Rural Oxfordshire, autumn leaves blowing across the road, rain in the air and the evening drawing in; this has to be the most unlikely setting to stumble across the hi-tech HQ and nerve-centre of the Williams F1 team. A petrol-head’s dream!

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Four of the Team Army team, Lamont , Tim, Usha and Rebecca pose in front of the priceless jaguar supercar used by the baddies in the Bond film Spectre

It was here, on the 12th Nov, that 100+ sponsors and supporters of Team Army drew together to celebrate this summer’s achievement of putting over £3m into Forces Sport. And what a setting! Surrounded by the most extraordinary collection of exotic F1 machinery, the assembled throng were able to sip champagne, compete in the F1 simulator and touch, caress and gaze in wonder at the spectacle of the cutting edge of F1 technology spanning the last 30-odd years. Sir Frank Williams’ collection is both unique and a real treat for those of us that have wasted far too many hours glued to the box, week in week out to the strains of Fleetwood Mac’ s opening riffs of ’The Chain’! This promised to be a great evening!

With a reception to kick the evening off, it was possible to hear first hand some sporting achievements and what sport means, whether a lifeline for recuperation and rehabilitation from injury, to mainstream sport and those, through having the right funding and support, who are able to achieve top honours and compete on the international sporting stage. James Cameron, founder and inspiration behind Mission Motorsport was able to relate his charity’s journey, having been kick-started through initial Team Army funding. Using motorsport has created opportunities for soldiers to compete and provided openings into a second career in the motor industry for our injured troops; no fewer than 50 placements since the Invictus Games! The Sapper Leonora Brajshori, a nominee for this year’s Army Sportswoman of the Year award, took to the stage to rapturous applause on her recent crowning as World Champion in her weight class at Powerlifting. Just two examples of sporting achievement which underline the importance of having the right funding and opportunity — much of the non-public funding provided by the companies represented in the room.

Gen Paul Jaques, as Chairman of the Trustees, was able to relate the ups and downs as the Team Army Sports Foundation charity and the brand Team Army took shape. But it was Lamont Kirkland, CEO of Team Army, who stole the limelight, recalling the memorable steps we have taken and the challenges to get the scheme embedded into the culture, not least of which was to persuade his wife, Helen, that this was a passion and a journey worth taking —- rather than taking a ’normal job’ as a retired Major General!

A fabulous evening in glittering surroundings and with iconic symbols of motor racing heritage. All made possible by the generosity of Simon Roffey and St James’ Place Wealth Management who have chosen to partner with Team Army. Through their engagement with industry, military units and individuals they seek to help with advice and guidance on financial planning and investment. Providing a discount on commission and sharing that commission with the Team Army Sports Foundation it is a win win all round. We thank them for their generous support and we wish the partnership success and growth into the future.

Roll on the next £3m!

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Roving reporter Tim Wakefield with his new wheels!

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Sapper Leonora Brajshori, a nominee for this year’s Army Sportswoman of the Year award being interviewed by Andrew McMorran, TASF Trustee

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