Alistair Spearings’ Speech – Style for Soldiers Christmas Party 2014

Good evening Lords, Ladies and Gentleman.  I would like to start by saying how honoured I am to have been asked by Emma to speak this evening.   I was injured just over three years ago and I met Emma shortly after that on one of her frequent visits to Headley Court.  After getting over the initial shock of seeing an attractive women in the common room which is usually full of sweaty soldiers wearing gym kit and playing Xbox.  I went over to discover that she was making fitted shirts for the soldiers, so I eagerly joined that queue.  Since then I have met Emma several times and I am always struck by not only the time she is willing to give to everyone she meets but also by the fact that she seems to remember so much about each of us as well.  So much so in fact that I feel she could probably run workshops on bedside manner at many of the Hospitals I have been to.

Charles Dickens once said, ‘Any man may be in good spirits and good temper if he is well dressed’ and this is a sentiment that anyone who has had the privilege of wearing an Emma Willis shirt, I am sure will undoubtedly agree with.

Soldiers are not natural clothed horses the nature of our jobs tends to make us an awkward shape anyway and this is a condition a bomb blast has nothing to improve.  Also if you spend any period of time in a wheelchair you tend to end up with a chest and shoulders that keytrol would be proud of.  I for example tend to look like I am having a fight with the main tail of a tall ship if I try and wear an off-the-shelf shirt.

I am sure over the years we have caused a bit of head scratching in the Emma Willis workshop, but the shirts I have received from Emma Willis are an absolute joy to wear and they really do improve our spirits.  So I would just like to finish by saying, thank you to Emma, and to all her team for the work she has done over the years both for making soldiers feel good about themselves, but more importantly for putting on events like this evening and raising the profile of our wounded soldiers and servicemen and women.  Emma has shown that with some lateral thinking and generous use of her talents she possess, anyone can make a really intangible difference and by keeping this issue in the public eye she is ensuring our continued welfare.  So thank you Emma and your team and I hope you all have a good evening.