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Special Award Finalist: Sally Orange (Army Cadet Force)

'Not content with being the only person in the world to have run a marathon on every continent in fancy dress (more specifically dressed as different pieces of fruit!), in a bid to raise funds and awareness for different charities, Sally Orange is a genuinely inspirational advocate for all service personnel, the veterans’ community and society at large, that have experienced poor mental health.'

Although battling daily with severe depression and chronic anxiety, she has made it her crusade to raise awareness, funds and support for others.  Through taking on arduous physical challenges all over the world, she personifies the spirit of adventure and demonstrates that with the right mindset, individuals don’t have to be the fastest or fittest to achieve more than they believe possible. 

Sally has been particularly active in championing and encouraging women to achieve greater self-belief through participation and also young people in her role as the first female UK National Ambassador for Army Cadets.  

On World Mental Health day, she facilitated Army Cadets and Cadet Force Adult Volunteers to write themselves into the Guinness Book of Records by spearheading an online 24hr mass participation mental health training programme.  At the same time, Sally set the Guinness World Record for the deepest underground marathon, aptly named ‘Beneath the Surface’, as you never know what is going on in someone else’s mind. 

Six days prior, she had become the first female to run a marathon isolated in a pod of the London Eye to symbolise the ‘highs and lows’ or ‘ups and downs’ the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the nation’s mental health. 

During lockdown, she ran a marathon in scrubs and a facemask around the NHS Nightingale Hospital, whilst on her induction to volunteer there, raising thousands of pounds for NHS Charities Together.  For this she was awarded the Prime Ministers Points of Light Award. 

2019 saw her founding, organising and captaining the first all-female team of wounded, injured and sick individuals to complete the Race Across America, the World’s toughest cycling race.  The team completed the 3070 mile challenge, spanning 12 states, 3 mountain ranges and 170,000ft of climbing in just 8 days and 12 minutes.  They deservedly won the ‘Spirit of RAAM’ award for overcoming adversity and exceptional teamwork.   

In addition to running 60 marathons, Sally has completed the gruelling Marathon des Sables, the Arch to Arc extreme triathlon, (involving swimming the English channel), cycled the length of New Zealand and the length of the UK 3 times, as well as spending time volunteering in Uganda promoting women in sport. 

Add this to the fact that she has given 22 years’ service to the Army Reserve as a Physiotherapy Officer, is an Invictus Games medallist, 5 x Guinness World Record holder and has also set 5 world firsts and you will see why Sally Orange inspires just about everyone she comes into contact with.  

Her enthusiasm, engagement and sheer energy is infectious and persuasive. She is an inspiration to young people across the nation in the Army Cadet Force, schools and other youth organisations where she is a regular speaker and volunteer.  

Sally is a role model and exemplar, she is the antidote to anyone who ever says it can’t be done. Moreover, she is more than simply a participant; increasingly she is applying her talents to mentoring, educating and organising, bringing inspiration to new audiences. 

Not content with helping service personnel and veterans Sally has started a series of events aimed at children, dispelling myths on mental health, promoting physical activity and engendering confidence – by telling her own story. She has developed a unique way of combining her own vulnerabilities, with compassion, humility and fun, which undoubtedly breaks down barriers for others.'

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