On the 15th November, 3 Soldiers from 156 Transport Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps, swapped serving their country for the evening and instead served up a gourmet delight for guests at Robinsons Visitors Centre in aid of ABF The Soldiers’ Charity.
Hosted by celebrity chef Simon Rimmer, the event – which included a 3-course sit down meal put together by Simon Rimmer, Warrant Officer Chris Green, Lance Corporal Stuart Graham and Private Clare Sampson – sold out within a matter of hours. £10 from every £25 ticket, together with funds from a ‘win your height in beer’ competition, was donated directly to The Soldiers’ Charity raising over £1100 in total.
The Soldiers' Charity, formally known as the Army Benevolent Fund, is a charity that supports all soldiers, former soldiers and their families in times of need. Set up in 1944, The Soldiers’ Charity gives half of their money direct to helping individuals in areas such as debt relief, mobility assistance, education bursaries, care home fees and respite breaks.
After opening the evening, Simon Rimmer handed over to Andy Reid, a spokesman and ambassador for the ABF. Andy lost both his legs and his right arm from an improvised explosive device whilst serving in Afghanistan. Remarkably, he spent only two weeks in hospital being treated for his injuries. The Soldiers Charity gave an immediate grant to pay for alterations to Andy’s home to ensure that Andy, his wife Claire and son William could live a normal life.
Andy recounted the heart breaking story of his injury to guests attending the sold out event at Robinsons Visitors Centre. Showing his positivity and courage he stated that “he had no regrets about serving his country” resulting in a roaring ovation.
Speaking about the event itself, Andy commented: “It was an absolutely amazing night. It’s great to see a British family company such as Robinsons supporting injured soldiers and their families. Coming here to speak about my experiences has been great because it’s important to get the message of the charity across and explain how it’s helped me personally.”
The evening came to a close with entertainment and several prizes awarded. Attendees had the opportunity to win their ‘own height in beer’ along with Simon Rimmer’s signed chef whites and exclusive golden tickets for a very special Robinsons brewery tour.
“It was a superb evening,” said Captain Graham Dowling, a long serving member of the armed forces, “it is a humbling experience to see that Robinsons and so many people are prepared to support this worthwhile charity. The ABF supports soldiers from all walks of life including regular and reserve soldiers; it’s great to see the likes of Simon Rimmer throwing their considerable weight to back the charity too.”
Commenting on the event, Simon Rimmer said: “I’m a huge supporter of the armed forces and was very proud to cook alongside some of the men and women who have unhesitatingly served our nation whenever the call has come.”
Since opening its doors in March 2013, Robinsons Visitors Centre has hosted a range of events from beer and food matching to BBQs, breakfast meetings to bespoke banqueting, gourmet nights to Man vs. Food.