Belfast Telegraph

Forces thank widow and Glens Community Trust

by Fiona Rutherford

When young east Belfast soldier Sgt Sean Binnie was killed in Afghanistan last year, the grief of his widow, Amanda, touched many hearts.

Rather than turn inwards, however, Amanda channelled her pain into fundraising for Forces’ charities. Now her efforts have been recognised by the Forces Awards.

Amanda Binnie received the Individual Award for her services while the Glentoran Community Trust won a Community Organisation award and the Newsletter picked up the honours in the Commercial Organisation section.

Mrs Binnie said: “I feel very honoured to have been nominated in the first place, but to have won an award for something that is so dear to my heart will give me the determination and drive to keep going. Thank you all so very much on behalf of my late husband and myself.”

Laura Murray from The Royal British Legion welcomed the recognition given to Mrs Binnie’s work.

“Since the tragic loss of her husband Sean in May last year Amanda has worked diligently for Service and Ex-Service charities, from taking part in sponsored walks, to launching the Poppy Appeal in Northern Ireland,” she said. “Only recently, on the anniversary of Sean's death, Amanda held a fundraising event — 'A Celebration of Sean's Life' to raise money for the Poppy Appeal. Amanda is an exceptional young woman who thoroughly deserves the recognition of this award.”

The Glentoran Community Trust runs various community based projects both at home, in Dublin and as far away as Ghana. The Trust set up the Home Comforts Appeal for Afghanistan which saw its supporters collect, assemble and dispatch almost 1,600 comfort parcels for soldiers serving with the British Armed Forces on Op Herrick 11 in Afghanistan. The Trust has also helped to raise money for the Irish Guards’ dedicated Afghanistan Fund which is assisting with the rehabilitation of injured guardsmen during the conflict.

Sam Robinson, from the Glentoran Community Trust, said it was “both an honour and a privilege to work with the men and women currently serving in Afghanistan and to be recognised by the Royal British Legion.

“When we first started raising funds and collecting and distributing Comfort Parcels, we had no idea how much the appeal would bring our community together,” he said.

“The response and the feeling of good-will generated by the people of Belfast towards our Forces in theatre has been nothing short of remarkable. This is an award for everyone who took the time to care.”

Captain John Donaldson said: “It is a tremendous achievement to bring a local community together and to communicate their support to the troops. I was lucky enough to be on the receiving end of this great kindness and it was a real privilege to receive such generosity”.

The winners will receive their awards from MP Naomi Long later.

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