Style for Soldiers
1138. Emma Willis
Emma Willis MBE, from Gloucester, is one of the UK’s foremost shirt-makers who founded ‘Style for Soldiers’ in 2008 to provide bespoke clothing and walking sticks for Armed Forces members as part of their rehabilitation.
After hearing a BBC Radio 4 Documentary about recovering veterans, Emma realised that donations of clothing could provide a vital boost to their wellbeing and confidence. Further recognising the benefit high-quality suits could have for veterans in securing job interviews and marking the transition to civilian life, she subsequently established ‘Style for Soldiers’ to specially design suits for service personnel, with assistance from leading English brands such as ‘Marks & Spencer’, ‘Russell and Bromley’ and ‘Lock and Co Hatters’. The charity has since provided over 750 suits, 100 shoes and several hundred hats to veterans, as well as facilitating work placements and holding regular events bringing together members for networking and peer support, with the charity working closely alongside the NHS Veterans Trauma network. ‘Style for Soldiers’ has also been supported by HRH The Prince of Wales, with leading fashion models including David Gandy serving as ambassadors for the charity.
Emma’s award coincides with International Women’s Day, and she received her award at an official Downing Street reception to mark the occasion, where she met the Prime Minister (pictured below).
In a personal letter to Emma, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“The service you provide for veterans through ‘Style for Soldiers’ is having a truly transformative effect on their wellbeing and self-esteem. You are giving vital support to those who have made great sacrifices in the service of our country and you should feel incredibly proud of the difference you have made helping so many brave veterans adjust to civilian life.”
“This is a great honour to receive a Points of Light award, particularly in the week marking International Women’s Day. To be thanked for one’s voluntary work like this is extremely encouraging and I am grateful to the Prime Minister for this recognition. To be able to offer support to our young injured service personnel is the greatest privilege, we owe them so much.”