Congratulations to our ambassador, David Dent, who has been awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List, for ‘services to students, veterans and people with disability’.
David, 55, who, in addition to being an ambassador for the Charity, is also an advisory panel member to our executive and board, believes his work with us will have been a telling factor in his award.
He explained: “Being an ambassador and spokesperson for Help for Heroes has given me a platform to highlight the disadvantages veterans often face. Hopefully, I can act as an example to show that, even in the darkest times, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
“There are many examples in the Charity of people who have been supported by Help for Heroes and then have overcome adversity, achieved, and given back.
“The fundamental bit, for me, was participating in the sports recovery programme. That got me into sport, and, from there, the things I’ve done with grass-roots disability sport in Scotland, participating in the Israeli-British Veterans Games and conference, led me into competing in the Highland Games and the club that’s been set up by Jim Holborn, the Wounded Highlanders.
“Importantly, the Highland Games is now open to everybody with a disability, whereas it wasn’t as recently as a few years ago. It’s great that, even in this day and age, one can still help make a difference for people with a disability.”
David with Baronness Ruth Davidson, left, and Help for Heroes CEO Melanie Waters OBE, at the Scottish Parliament
As part of the Wounded Highlanders, David became the first seated athlete to set a world record under the Royal Scottish Highland Games Association – a distance of 23ft 6 inches in the shot put. And, he is just one of a number of successful athletes in the team, including our own Mark Tonner, who recently regained his World’s Strongest Disabled Man title.
Remarkably, David is not the first member of his family to receive an MBE.
He added: “I don’t know how the award came about. They haven’t said who nominated me. There were a few emotions: first of all, surprise. I feel really privileged that the bits that I do are seen as significant enough that other people see them as valuable. That’s always humbling. I was also delighted, obviously.
“The other bit that, personally, impacts me, is that both my dad and my grandfather were awarded the MBE. And they were both soldiers too. My grandfather was injured in WWII and, when he returned, he went back to his job as a cattle farmer, and received his award for services to the farming industry.
“And my dad was awarded an MBE after spending more than 30 years with the Royal Scots. Both he and my mum are in their 80s and I’m really looking forward to driving over and telling them this morning (New Year’s Day). I’m sure there will be tears involved.”
David set a seated world record in the shot put of 23ft 6 inches
David, who lives in Law, Lanarkshire, suffered two injuries while serving as a front-line trauma specialist with the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps (QARANC), and now uses a wheelchair.
Despite his injuries, it wasn’t until his involvement with the 2015 Warrior Games – where he competed in shot put, archery and shooting and won a bronze medal for the discus – that he realised he was eligible for support from us, although he was already a supporter of the Charity.
David contacted us and was assigned a support worker through our northern team, and, in January 2016, he agreed to become a valued ambassador.
Outside of his work with the Charity, David leads a team of directors specialising in biotech, clinical development, and consulting services. In addition to his latest accolade, he is also a Fellow of the Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce; a Fellow of the Institute of Directors; a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute; a Fellow at the Institute of Directors; and, since 2015, an Honorary Professor at the University of Stirling.
In whatever leisure time he has, he’s also an announcer for Scottish Athletics and Forth Valley Disability Sport where he is a member and former treasurer.
David may have been honoured in the new year list, but we have always felt honoured to have him as part of the team. Congratulations David.
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