Mike is one of our star fundraisers. He first started raising money for The Soldiers’ Charity in 2008 after the death of a friend’s son in Afghanistan; ‘I first became fully aware of ABF The Soldiers’ Charity after the death of Private Joe Whittaker in Afghanistan. My wife and I chose to fundraise for you because we could see that it was a Charity that provided welfare assistance to soldiers of all ages, all backgrounds, all forms of service’.
Along with his wife, family, friends, neighbours and colleagues he has raised thousands of pounds by doing an array of challenges and events. It first started when he and his wife Julie did the Berlin Marathon as part of Team Soldiers’ Charity. His family then went on to hold a number of Big Curries at their local rugby Club in Warwickshire. He told us ‘You put rugby players and curry together and it’s an absolute winner’. Ever the one for a challenge, Mike volunteered for the 30:30 Challenge in Exmoor but also capitalized on the generosity of his colleagues by organising a wine tasting event in the heart of the City which had 120 attendees and raised over £5,000.
However Mike’s biggest fundraising project is Rugby4Heroes. Along with another star fundraiser, Gaz Nash and Old Leamingtonians RFC, Mike holds an annual festival of music and sport which has generated over £50,000 for Armed Forces Charities: ‘In May 2009 we came up with the idea of doing an end of season fundraiser at our local rugby club; a day packed with rugby games and live music. It was a great success and we had an absolute ball raising tens of thousands of pounds for the most deserving of causes’.
Despite not having an Army background, Mike has a number of personal connections to our cause which was reinforced when Pte Conrad Lewis, another son of close friends, became the 353rd soldier to be killed in Afghanistan. Mike also fundraises in commemoration of his Great Grandfather who served during the First World War: ‘My Great Grandfather George Wigmore served with the Royal Field Artillery; he went to France on the 30th of September 1915 and was awarded the Military Medal for bravery in 1916. Even though I didn’t serve in the Army myself I am in a very good position to give something back and remember what he and his generation sacrificed to allow myself and my family to enjoy the life that we have today.’
‘Our servicemen and women…put their lives and families’ lives on the line so deserve unqualified support, which is what the Charity can offer’
When asked why he thinks it is important to support the Army’s National Charity he told us: ‘It is really important that The Soldiers’ Charity exists today because we have a moral obligation to our servicemen and women; to support them in the way that they support us. They put their lives, and families’ livelihoods on the line so deserve universal and unqualified support which is what the Charity can offer.’