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At the Court of St James’s

shutterstock_10943359713th May 2014 – Group Managing Director, Jack Bardakjian, and Head of Marketing, Shahab Mossavat attended a dinner hosted by HRH The Duke of York,  Patron of the Outward Bound Trust, at St James Palace.

The prestigious, by-invitation-only event was a gathering to honour members of the Patrons Company, whose contributions are the trust’s main revenue source. Last year these enabled OB to offer courses to some 27,000 youngsters who would otherwise not have been able to participate.

The dinner was an opportunity for members of the Patrons Company to share their OB experiences, and establish new friendships.

In a pre-dinner speech, senior OB instructor, Ian Davidson, spoke with great eloquence of the opportunities the Trust offers young people to step outside their comfort zone, and how much these serve to bolster confidence. Introducing Jordan Foley, an OB participant in 2009, he recalled the enthusiasm and dedication with which he had taken his chance. Jordan Foley, then spoke about the motivation that transformed him from a fourteen-year old youth lacking direction into a focused athlete, an elite soldier, and a member of Team GB’s Olympic Biathlon Squad for Pyeongchang in 2018.

Following dinner and the Loyal Toast, the Outward Bound’s Annual Awards were presented. In such a regal setting it was only fitting that footballing royalty should attend, and 1966 World Cup hat-trick hero, Sir Geoff Hurst was among the presenters. Also presenting was Roz Savage MBE, formerly a City banker, who gave it all up to become an ocean rower; raising millions for charities, including OB.

Displaying commendable modesty, Judy Halewood – Chairwoman of Halewood International, received a prize for her outstanding personal contribution to Outward Bound’s fund-raising efforts, which has included a sponsored abseil down the Shard, last year. Accepting an award on behalf of DHL UK Foundation was Sonia Chhatwal. In one of the evening’s more light-hearted moments, Ms Chhatwal admitted she had only been with the Foundation for seven weeks, and had no idea what it was all about. Nonetheless, she accepted the award with much grace and dedicated it to all the staff at DHL, whose efforts were being recognised.

Finally, Jordan Foley was invited to return to the rostrum, where to universal acclaim, he also received an award for his outstanding achievements, which to date include winning almost 100 gold medals.

Lord Kirkham, Deputy Patron of the Trust gave details of the magnificent progress made by the Trust during the preceding year, and spoke with enthusiasm of a substantial grant received from the Cundill Foundation, and the exponential effect it will have in taking OB to “the next level.”

Finally, HRH The Duke of York spoke with great pride and enthusiasm about the integral part that the Trust plays in our national life. In a speech filled with energy, the Prince addressed the challenges thrown up by the Trust’s success, to extend its reach and develop its programs, while retaining its core principles and the values identified with OB.

Gapuma for its part sponsored its local partner school, Phoenix High for the first this year, offering twenty students from the school full bursaries. Gapuma hopes that in the years to come its own successes will be reflected in increased contributions and greater commitment to the sterling work undertaken by the Outward Bound Trust.