Saturday 27 June 2020

Armed Forces Day

Bude — 20–30 June 2020

‘Art in the Aftermath’ in support of our Armed Forces

9:00 am to 6:00 pm

Style for Soldiers was founded 10 years ago by menswear designer Emma Willis MBE in response to the severe casualties returning from Afghanistan in the height of the violent conflict. Struck by the challenge these young men and women would now face post medical discharge from the military, having suffered life changing physical and emotional injuries, Emma started visiting Headley Court Military hospital every two months for 8 years to make complimentary clothing to help with self esteem and confidence. The charity also provides Bespoke Regimental Walk- ing sticks which have been sponsored by Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall. She has built a database of over 750 injured service personnel who the charity continues to support with clothing for interviews, new jobs and important occasions, hosting the largest reunion parties held in the country, attended by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales in 2016, including a family day at Woburn Safari Park donated each year by The Duke of Bedford. Ambassadors of the charity include Charles Dance, David Gandy and Telegraph Fashion Director Lisa Armstrong.

Through regular contact with the rehabilitating servicemen and women Emma has met several who have turned instinctively to art and poetry to help with the psychological healing process, the Exhibition will , showcase art, poetry and film created by former servicemen suffering from PTSD or brain injury predominantly incurred in Afghanistan, as well as the paintings and drawings of Harry Parker who was physically injured by a Taliban IED explosion. The charity has now awarded seven arts sponsorships and each have resulted in the start of successful careers. The Exhibition has now shown in London, Sheffield and Gloucester and will move to Bude Castle in the Summer.

Creative work has been scientifically proven to help re route the neurological pathways of the brain and the veterans, with financial support from the charity, have found peace and purpose over the year and the aim now is to launch economically viable careers for them doing what they love and supports them psychologically.

Significant long term support has been given by the following British companies. Mr Porter, Christies, Marks & Spencer, Barclays, Russell & Bromley, Lock and Co Hatters, The Veterans Foundation, Burberry with champagne donated by Pol Roger.

The exhibition will also show powerful images of Emma’s visits to Headley Court Military Hospital, as well as photographic portraits of injured soldiers dressed immaculately in a Style for Soldiers / Mr Porter photo shoot by top fashion photographers Ben Weller and Boo George to show the importance of smart clothes for morale and self confidence when transitioning into new, unpredicted civilian life and careers.

The exhibition will also be showing several Veterans short films including Former Royal Engineer and triple amputee Matt Weston’s short film starring Style for Soldiers Ambassador Charles Dance, ‘For Love of Words.’