1699. Tommy Lowther
Tommy Lowther, from County Durham, is an Armed Forces veteran who launched ‘Sporting Force’, a registered charity which provides support and training for veterans after their Armed Forces careers are over by channeling their passions for sport.
Tommy served with the British Army, and subsequently with the Metropolitan Police, during which time he was on the frontline for the 7 July terrorist attacks in London in 2005. His experiences during both his military and police careers have left him suffering from PTSD. Sport provided Tommy with a key outlet for recovery, and realising the benefit this could have for other ex-service personnel, not just in helping to address mental health difficulties but providing long-term employment opportunities, he established ‘Sporting Force’. The enterprise provides access to placements at football and rugby clubs across the country, offering training, coaching qualifications, work placements and support for routes into paid employment, so far helping over 7,000 veterans get back into the workplace. ‘Sporting Force’ also runs social events and a weekly support group, involving indoor and outdoor activities for veterans.
In a personal letter to Tommy, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“I want to thank you for your service to our nation and now your service to others through ‘Sporting Force’.
“From your own service, you know what is needed to support brave veterans as they move to civilian life. You continue to bring a sense of camaraderie and companionship to your fellow veterans. Through the power of sport, you have brought dignity and self-worth to many veterans and I wish ‘Sporting Force’ every success for the future.”
Dehenna Davison, MP for Bishop Auckland, said:
“I am incredibly proud to see that Tommy Lowther has won the UK’s 1699th Point of Light award. Tommy has previously won my Unsung Hero award for his work to help support veterans through his charity Sporting Force, though, I feel this award may slightly trump this!
“It is absolutely fantastic to see Tommy recognised by the Prime Minister for his inspirational charity work to support veterans and I cannot think of anyone that deserves the award more.”
In response to receiving the award, Tommy said:
“Winning this award is a huge honour. I have never helped people in order to gain thank you’s in return. I had my breakdown and know how bad it made me feel, and I wanted to help others avoid having to feel what I had. This has been an immensely difficult time and a time that I believe we have all dug deep to help one another. There is no better feeling than seeing someone grow, morph into their new selves knowing that you have had a part to play in their new-found confidence and happiness. I don’t know who nominated me but I thank you from the bottom of my heart because it makes me believe that what I am doing is right.”