It is with great sadness that the trustees of Felix Fund announce the passing of Miss Holly Davies, the Chief Executive, on Friday 27 June 2014 after a long illness.
Those who have supported Felix Fund since its inception, or who have been recipients of grants awarded by the charity, will know that Holly Davies was the driving force behind its success. At the outset, Holly devoted her fundraising expertise to providing much-needed support to countless individuals within the EOD community. Armed with persuasiveness, tenacity and dogged determination, Holly pursued her vision, which was to create a charity that would serve the welfare needs of an EOD community that she took to her heart. Serving, retired, spouse, child, significant other – it did not matter – Holly was adamant that this support should be afforded to all who were connected with the trade. She understood the needs of those outside of the services can be just as critical as that of those within it.
A brief glance at this website and the grants distributed provide ample illustration of the broad scope of the charitable objectives that Holly sought to introduce, and the sheer number of individuals who have been touched in some way by Felix Fund. In a very short time, the charity, as a direct result of Holly’s perseverance and willingness to put others needs before her own, has become an important source of support to the wider EOD community. It is no surprise that Holly was recently formally recognised for her dedication and commitment by receiving both the Chief of the Defence Staff Commendation and British Empire Medal, both richly deserved.
It is rare to find an individual who, in such a short life, can be considered truly inspirational –Holly is one of those people and we forever remain in her debt. Her boundless enthusiasm, commitment and total selflessness have set a bar that few will match. Her brainchild, Felix Fund, will live on in her memory and will seek to maintain the level of support to the EOD community that Holly would have demanded. She would not be shy in asking you to continue to get behind Felix Fund as you have done up to now. In doing so, we will move forward and ensure that Holly’s legacy will endure into the future, along with many more charitable beneficiaries.
Our deepest sympathies are with Holly’s family and friends at this time as they try to come to terms with the loss of a young life blessed with so much potential. She will be sorely missed.
Felix Fund has been awarded a Commendation from the Chief of The Defence Staff, the professional head of the British Armed Forces, in a ceremony at MOD Main Building in Whitehall.
CDS commendations, part of The Armed Forces Covenant, recognise “outstanding support and commitment of a rare and exceptionally high standard by non-military individuals or organisations to the Armed Forces community.”
Felix Fund is one of only two charities to receive a CDS commendation since the inaugural awards in 2012.
Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nick Houghton, said:
“Felix Fund is a charity that significantly improves the lives of soldiers returning from operations through the generous provision of breaks, grants and peer support. Their work wholly complements our own efforts and is worthy of special recognition.”
Holly Davies, Felix Fund’s Chief Executive, said:
“Everyone at Felix Fund is thrilled. It’s very reassuring to have formal confirmation that our work for the military bomb disposal community has been good and useful.”
Felix Fund has won a second grant from the Armed Forces Covenant LIBOR Fund, the Prime Minister has announced. This new £85,000 grant means Felix Fund can help a further 120 bomb disposal experts to readjust to life in the UK after their exhausting and often traumatic Afghan tours.
QinetiQ, the defence, aerospace and security experts, are sponsoring Felix Fund’s annual inter-unit fundraising competition.
The QinetiQ Cup will be awarded to the military or police unit that raises the largest sum for Felix Fund over a 12-month period starting 5 November each year. The winning unit will also receive £1,000 prize money to spend on adventure training or welfare activities.
‘The QinetiQ Cup’ will be officially launched at Lambeth Palace on 5 November 2013, as part of the BigBlast! drinks reception and fireworks.
John Anderson, Managing Director of QinetiQ’s Weapons Division, says, “QinetiQ is very proud to sponsor this competition. We hope it will harness healthy inter-unit rivalry for the benefit of the whole EOD & Search community.”
Felix Fund Chief Executive, Holly Davies says, “We are very grateful indeed to QinetiQ for all their on-going support of Felix Fund.”
For further details, or to enter your unit for The QinetiQ Cup, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
A dinner to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Bishopsgate Bombing in the City of London raised £115,000 for Felix Fund.
Sponsored by Handelsbanken, Hiscox, Qinetiq and Thomas Miller, the event was held at The Merchant Taylors’ Hall, near the scene of the blast.
When the large PIRA truck bomb exploded on 24 April 1993, it killed one person and injured 34 others. The resulting crater was 36 feet in diameter and 15 feet deep; window damage extended over half a mile and costs were estimated at £1 billion.
David Williams, the Met police explosives officer who attended the scene said: “When I arrived the City Police were doing an excellent job of evacuating the area, but by the time the cordon had reached a reasonable distance it was too late to make any kind of approach to the vehicle, it was within minutes of exploding. The IRA tacticians had got it exactly right.”
Other guests at the dinner included Major General Colin Boag CBE, W02 Gareth Wood MC and the cast of Bluestone 42, the BBC comedy series based on a bomb disposal team in Afghanistan. The charity auction was conducted by Lord Harry Dalmeny.
Felix Fund is to receive money from fines imposed on banks for their involvement in the Libor rate-fixing scandal, Chancellor George Osborne has announced.
Felix Fund is one of three charities to receive a share of the £1.3m Libor Fund, along with Tickets for Troops and Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association.
Mr Osborne told the BBC: “I wanted to take money that was paid in fines by people who, frankly, demonstrated the worst of the values in our society and help support those who demonstrate the very best values in our society – and those are the soldiers and sailors and airmen who fight on our behalf.”
Baz in Nottingham with the Olympic torch
Among those carrying the Olympic Torch through Nottingham on 28 June was bomb disposal expert Cpl Daniel Whittingham, of 11 EOD Regiment RLC. His selection as Olympic torchbearer reflects both his strength in adversity and his charity work, including his fundraising for Felix Fund.
Holly Davies, chief executive of Felix Fund, said: “We are enormously grateful to Cpl Whittingham – or ‘Baz’ as many know him. It was fantastic to see his inspirational work for Felix Fund recognised in this way.”
Cpl Daniel Whittingham was seriously injured in 2009 whilst serving in Afghanistan when the vehicle he was travelling in hit an improvised explosive device (IED). His injuries included two shattered legs, and after 18 months of treatment he had an elected amputation on his left leg below the knee. Cpl Whittingham benefited from a Felix Fund Normalisation break shortly after.
The 26-year-old former Team GB para canoeist is a member of Notts Troop 721 Squadron 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Regiment, Royal Logistics Corps, based at Chetwynd Barracks in Chilwell.
Last April, Cpl Whittingham helped to raise £60,000 at a dinner in London to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Baltic Exchange Bombing. His ongoing fundraising for Felix Fund includes a sponsored descent into Titan, the deepest natural cave in Europe.
A dinner and auction to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the bombing of the Baltic Exchange in the City of London raised £60,000 for the Felix Fund.
Sponsored by the Hiscox insurance group, the event was held on the top floor of 30 St Mary Axe (The Gherkin), adjacent to the present home of the Baltic Exchange, and the building that replaced the historic but severely damaged previous home of the Exchange.
When the large truck bomb was detonated on 10 April 1992 it killed three people and 99 others were injured. It caused £800 millions in damage – £200 million more than the total financial cost of all the other previous explosion relating to the Troubles in Northern Ireland up to that point.
Hiscox group chairman, Robert Hiscox said: “The City must never forget what we owe to the extreme bravery and selflessness of the bomb disposal experts. Felix Fund needs our help to support them in their continuing fight against terrorism.”
Guests at the dinner included: Major Peter Norton GC, WO2 Karl Ley GM (who holds the record for the volume of devices dealt with), and Cpl Daniel Whittingham, the Afghan-amputee bomb disposal expert who later this year will carry the Olympic torch in his home town of Nottingham.
Also present were Ann Marie Nice, widow of Metropolitan Police explosives officer Nick Nice, who attended the 1992 blast, together with Brigadier Mike Hickson, Director of The Royal Logistic Corps, Brigadier Miles Wade, Head of Army Media and Communications, Lord Archer and Lord Daventry.
WO2 Karl Ley GM
Cpl Daniel Whittingham
Major Peter Norton GC
Hiscox group chairman, Robert Hiscox
Brigadier Mike Hickson
Anne Marie Nice
Hiscox Insurance is generously sponsoring a dinner to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the bomb which destroyed The Baltic Exchange in the City of London. The dinner, organised by Felix Fund, will take place at the top of 30 St Mary Axe (‘The Gherkin’) on Thursday April 12th.
Lord (Jeffrey) Archer will conduct a charity auction during the dinner, to raise funds for bomb disposal experts who continue to combat Northern Irish terrorism.
On 10 April 1992 a large truck bomb exploded outside the Baltic Exchange. It killed three people and injured 99 others. It also caused £800 million worth of damage – £200 million more than the total financial cost of all the previous explosions relating to the troubles in Northern Ireland up to that point. Swiss Re commissioned the building, known as ‘The Gherkin,’ which now stands on the site of the former Grade 11* listed Baltic Exchange.
Anne Linley and family friend Trisha Flynn have raised £5,500 for Felix Fund with a ball in memory of Anne’s son, Brett.
SSgt Brett Linley GM, of 11 EOD Regiment RLC, died while trying to clear improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Nahr-e-Saraj in July 2010. He was posthumously awarded the George Medal in November this year.
The dinner and ball, held in Birmingham, was attended by over 100 family, friends and members of the wider bomb disposal community.
Felix Fund is delighted to welcome Anne and Trisha as fundraising co-ordinators for West Midlands area.