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Jon Cole CB OBE – Director BT Defence

It is my great privilege to lead BT Defence, and I am delighted that over the last season we were able to join other sponsors to contribute towards Armed Forces Winter Sports.  The much-welcomed return to competitive events encouraged the values of each single service, which provide the foundation for the essential moral component of fighting power.  It is for this reason that we choose to support you.  High functioning organisations all have values, and these tend to include teamwork, competitive spirit/commitment, courage, respect, discipline, integrity, loyalty.  This builds character, enhances morale and improves military effectiveness for whatever the future holds in this dangerous and uncertain world.  Winter Sports require all these values too.  I believe that they also closely match BT’s values as we seek to be the World’s most trusted connector of people, devices and machines. Our continued commitment to these sports reflects our confidence in our strategic relationship beyond the transactions of business, and we are proud to be a #nationalchampion alongside our servicepeople.


We were delighted to be the Headline Sponsor for this year’s meet of the UK Armed Forces Winter Sports Association at Meribel, which also included the honour of hosting many of the active participants and officials for dinner at BT Tower.  BT’s passion is not just for Alpine though.  We understand why this is such an important collection of sports that enable a range of disciplines to maximise participation and opportunity.  As a former Army Winter Sports Vice President for Ice Sports, I am in awe of the Ice community’s demonstration of the values that I mentioned above.  Whatever the discipline, Winter Sports is a means for the serving Armed Forces – to strive for excellence in demanding circumstances I am also increasingly interested in Ski Mountaineering, and I look with curiosity at how Defence choses to treat this discipline: sport or adventure training? This has echoes of the debate over mountain biking.


It is fabulous that we had the chance to be involved in the 21-22 season, especially through various recent pandemic-induced restrictions.  Finally, I am sure that I speak not just for BT but for all other sponsors too by congratulating the organisers that have worked so hard to make the last season (and the next) possible, and we all wish the participants a successful and enjoyable year ahead.