Co-founder and former CEO of Help for Heroes
Former Soldier with operational experience
Cartoonist, author, designer, illustrator, entrepreneur, creative
We asked Bryn to talk for 45 minutes and he had every single one of us absolutely spell bound. He had us in the palm of his hand and was a complete maestro. His talk was fascinating, funny, at times self deprecating, full of wonderful insights into human nature and was exceptionally inspirational.
Losing his father at four years old, Bryn and his family lived in a caravan while his mother drove a tractor to make ends meet. He was given a free education at Wellington College before ‘scraping’ into the army. Serving in the Royal Green Jackets for ten years, he undertook four operational tours and was a jungle warfare instructor in Australia when he decided to become a cartoonist. Emma and Bryn began Bryn Parry Studios in a damp cellar and over twenty-two years built it into a successful business based on his cartoons.
In 2007 they visited Selly Oak hospital, met some wounded soldiers and decided to ‘do something to help’. Help for Heroes was launched in October 2007 and in the nine years Bryn was Chief Executive, H4H raised over £300m and helped thousands of injured Servicemen and women. It was not easy but Bryn was determined to achieve his goal.
Bryn says “In my life, I have learned to lead by example, to communicate clearly and passionately, to identify the aim and to stick to it regardless of the many obstacles put in the way. I have been knocked down but I have always got up again.
I feel the skills I have gained, the mistakes I have made, the lessons I have learnt in my previous lives have given me a very different approach to starting and running a charity, which after all, is a business, albeit with the beneficiaries’ care as the outcome.
I set out with a simple intent, to do my bit to help some blokes and along the road found that I had created an organisation and in doing so, changed how we as a nation support our Armed Forces.
A life without challenges would be dull. As Churchill is quoted as saying ‘Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.’ I feel privileged to have been given this opportunity to help the blokes and I hope my story might inspire others to identify what really matters in life.”
Bryn was appointed OBE in 2010 for services to the Armed Forces.
Bryn’s story is unique but his experiences are relevant to us all as we seek to do the best in life. He is invited to speak to companies, at schools and universities, and to people of all ages and backgrounds interested to hear the human side of his extraordinary story. He talks in a self-deprecating, approachable manner, laced with insights, anecdotes and with a wry sense of humour.
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