Style for Soldiers held their annual Christmas Party at Spencer House on December 17th 2015. In the stunning hall decorated with a towering Christmas tree and roaring log fire Jermyn Street shirtmaker and Founder Emma Willis greeted injured servicemen and their families as they arrived from all over the UK, as well as supporters of the charity.
Guests of honour were the chairman of Marks and Spencer Robert Swannell and Head of Menswear Scott Fyfe, Mr Porter's Toby Bateman and Paul Watson, The Crown Estates' James Cooksey, Mappin and Webb, Huntsman, Nicholas Coates of Coates and Seely, Master Barber Stefan Avanzato, James Lock Hats and The London Sock Company.
M & S are providing Style for Soldiers with gift vouchers of £400 each for the injured servicemen to purchase suits for their new careers and formal civilian occasions, to wear with their Emma Willis shirts, ties and bespoke walking sticks. Mr Porter and The Crown fund the cost of the party, Huntsman have given 10 bespoke suits, Coates and Seely donated 80 bottles of their superb English 'Champagne', Stefan Avanzato and James Lock visit the Military Hospital at Epsom with Emma Willis to provide complimentary grooming and bespoke hats, and the London sock company are giving proceeds of their new limited edition socks designed by Style for Soldiers Ambassador David Gandy.
Injured servicemen and women were united having formed deep bonds of friendship following life changing injuries whilst serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and predominantly, and subsequent rehabilitation at Headley Court's incomparable medical recovery centre, as well as partners and family members meeting for the first time.
Former servicemen Andy Reid and Stuart Croxford made extremely moving and inspirational speeches about their experiences of injuring and physical and psychological recovery, and the importance of appearance in rebuilding confidence and self esteem, the mission of Style for Soldiers.
A cheer filled in the room as Emma read out a letter from the Chancellor who apologised for not being able to attend the party, but pledged financial support for Style for Soldiers for the next 5 years from his recent banking fines.
Guests partied until 11pm, with Coates and Seely and Pol Roger Champagne, Canapés and cakes given by Kath the Cake Lady who has been cheering up the young injured at Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Headley Court with her delicious complimentary baking for the last 6 years. The observant would notice the M6 toll road logo on several of the cup cakes, decorated by Kath in thanks for their funding of the cakes for her on this occasion!
Pianist Simon Lowry entertained guests on the grand piano in the Great Room throughout the evening, again generously given in his support of our injured and their families.
The St.James Hotel, The Corinthia and The Bloomsbury Hotel kindly gave free rooms to many of the servicemen and women and 5 of the most intrepid managed to persuade the manager at The Ritz Private Members Club to serve them a night cap to end the Style for Soldiers St. James' Christmas Party in the style they so deserve.