The Trust's Patron

Lord Richards of Herstmonceux GCB CBE DSO
Former Chief of Defence Staff

Carol Service - Chairman's Address

"I'd like to welcome you on behalf of the Trustees and the Dalzell family to the 3rd Annual Christmas Carol Service.  It is superb to see so many of you here this evening showing your support for DDMT. 

I must begin with some important thank yous. We would not be here this evening were it not for the kindness of St Mary Abbots Parish Church to host us again at this beautiful setting, accompanied by the Choir and the trumpeters of the Band of the Irish Guards. Along with the generous support of our sponsors who have helped us make the evening what it is tonight.  Also to our guest speakers for giving up their time this evening and read so brilliantly and to so many Coldstreamers helping out with the service and coming to show their support for the Charity.   Thank you all.  

We must convey our enormous appreciation to the Fundraising Committee who brought this all together. Led by Sandra Ankacrona and supported by a fantastic team, they have worked tirelessly to juggle so many moving parts over the last few months.  It is no mean feat but we can all see the results of their labour and so whole-hearted thanks to them all.  And I must mention our Secretary, Tricia Morris, the person who is the first point of contact for any enquiry and who acts as an anchor for the Trust – keeping us on our toes and making sure we keep in line and on track with our day to day activities. 

Before I cover what the Charity has achieved over the last year, there two more people to whom the Trust owes a great debt.  Andy Jennings stepped down as Chairman just 2 months ago, after three exceptional years in the position.  It is safe to say that without his direction, organisation, hard work and patience, this Charity would not be in the immaculate condition it finds itself in today.  He was integral in setting up DDMT from the very start - battling the eye-watering legalities associated with such a process and he has been a great figurehead as we navigated our way through the early years.  So thank you Andy, for your dedication and incredible work. 

Joe Parkin, who took up the position of Treasurer from the beginning and has supported us with all things financial over that time has also stepped down but has taken up a position as Trustee.  Thank you for everything you have done for us and we look forward to having you on the Board of Trustees. 

How quickly this last year has passed. At whilst it has no doubt been a busy year for you all, it has also been a busy one for the Charity.  Fundraising has maintained its momentum from last year, and we applaud the generous volunteers who organised their own events in order to raise money. 

They have pushed themselves physically - with marathons, ironmen and even playing 100 holes of golf in 24 hours; mentally - at the DDMT Pub Quiz and emotionally, at the DDMT Speed Dating evening........  Huntercombe Golf Course again was the host for the Charity's Golf Day which saw players enjoy a fun round followed by a superb lunch.  I would encourage any golfers to sign up early for next year. 

The list is too long to name every event, but every single one is vital to our success and longevity, so thank you to all those who have helped. There are already events lined up for 2014 - the annual Golf Day, the inaugural DDMT Supper Club, the Pub Quiz, the Nightrider Cycle Race through London and many others.  All of these are on the website, so please visit and find out how take part in these events. Similarly, if you would like to organise your own event, please contact us and we will do all in our reach to assist you. 

The Trust is acutely aware that this money needs to reach those who need it most.  The Distribution Committee, led by Robbie Donaldson, work so hard to find opportunities where we can make a quick, effective impact, which might otherwise take too long through larger organisations.  We have allocated £20k to Horseback UK for their indoor arena, so they can offer year-round courses for injured soldiers to rehabilitate through riding. We funded a specially adapted bathroom for a former Grenadier Guardsman, and also sent 15 injured servicemen to sail across the North Sea and ride across America, pillion-passenger on Harley Davidsons.  We consciously aim to divide distributions between sustainable causes which can build a legacy and activities which can put the wind back in the hair of those who find that they can no longer enjoy the same freedom and exhilaration they experienced prior to their injuries. 

One of DDMT’s main beneficiaries has been Soldiers in Mind.  DDMT assisted with Nikki Lester's vision at the seed stage to deliver a specialist service aimed at supporting military families following a death in service. 

The funding they received enabled SiM to support 27 families, which amounts to 135 individuals. They were provided with both emotional and practical support in collaboration with the military to ensure that all their needs were met, providing specialist trauma therapists to enable them to access psychological support not currently provided by either the military or the NHS. 

But for all of the families SiM were quite simply always there for them. Someone for them to talk to in their darkest moments, someone who could listen to their distress and someone who would continue to look after them over the long term. 

This pilot project will be completed in the early stages of next year to coincide with the planned withdrawal from Afghanistan and we are immensely proud of Nikki and what she has achieved. Her work encompasses the spirit of DDMT - that is to help those most in need and add a personal, parish-like touch at the same time. We wish Nikki the very best for the future in her new project. 

Looking forward, we will continue to maintain our flexibility to distribute money as and when it is needed.  The Distribution Committee constantly identifies long-term projects which will benefit from our donations and individual cases which are in need of fast-delivered aid. 

Everyone has charities which resonate within them.  But what makes this Charity so special, is that this is about Dougie.  It gives people the opportunity to come together and remember a great man and to also show our support to the Dalzell family. We all have fond memories and unique experiences, so it is only right that we can share these stories through DDMT. 

I met Dougie at Sandhurst as we were both in the same platoon. In the same Section, we spent most exercises sharing a basha and then enjoyed a year and a half as Platoon Commanders in the same company with the Coldstream Guards before deploying to Afghanistan.

I remember one moment, on a trench digging exercise at Sandhurst. 20hrs in and 5ft down, Dougie and I found ourselves left alone, out of an original 8, to finish off the trench.  4.30am in mid-winter, facing seemingly impenetrable rock, I was feeling less than jovial.  But I distinctly remember that it was his company, his determination and reassurance, his quiet confidence, as well as sharp wit, which made that experience bearable. 

He took this approach to life and soldiering with him as he continued his career in the Coldstream Guards, leading his platoon through the most horrendous of experiences.  It was these characteristics that his soldiers respected and adored.  He lead from the front and was professional to the end.  It is this memory of him that we wish to continue and these qualities we try to emulate in our dealings as a Charity. 

But we hope that your memories of Dougie too will continue to live on through the Trust and that you will help us to thrive for many years to come.  To raise money for a worthy cause is absolutely fantastic.  To do it while reminding ourselves of DD and supporting his family is even more so. 

We hope that you will stay on after the service for wine, mince pies and for those who wish to continue later, there are DDMT wristbands next to the main doors, which give free entry to Bodo Schloss with the password: Mistletoe before 11pm.  There is also a prize draw for a chance to win a bottle of champagne, specially signed for DDMT by our Prime Minister; so please put in your business cards and good luck!

I hope you enjoy the rest of the evening and thank you all again."

Matthew Burrows - Chairman, Lt Dougie Dalzell MC Memorial Trust 2013

 

 

We would love to hear from you if you know of any soldier (whether current or past), family member or any project that might benefit from our help.