Prestigious sword awarded to recognise sailor’s work

SURPRISE Mike Bray's wife, Vanessa, received the award on his behalf from Paul Daysh
SURPRISE Mike Bray's wife, Vanessa, received the award on his behalf from Paul Daysh

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AN HMS Collingwood sailor has won a special award in recognition of his work.

Lieutenant Mike Bray, 39, was awarded the Officer’s Association Sword during the annual Ceremonial Divisions ceremony held at HMS Collingwood, Fareham.

I feel honoured to be nominated for the award, let alone actually win it

Mike Bray

Traditionally presented as a surprise to the recipient during the divisions, unfortunately Mike was unable to attend the event as he is currently serving in Bahrain.

However, his wife Vanessa, a flight sergeant in the RAF, was invited to attend under the pretext of hosting a VIP.

The award was then presented to Vanessa for Mike by Paul Daysh, a member of the Collingwood Officers’ Association who had donated his sword for the award in acknowledgement of his time based at the Fareham establishment as an instructor and former barrack master.

The award is made to the officer who has shown the greatest leadership potential during the preceding year.  

Mike was nominated for the Officers’ Association Sword in recognition of his professional successes, his interpersonal skills and the leadership example he set during his time at HMS Collingwood.

He said: ‘I feel honoured to be nominated for the award, let alone actually win it.

‘I am currently deployed in Bahrain and was very pleased that my wife was able to receive the award of my behalf, although she was invited under the pretence of hosting a VIP and knew nothing about the award.

‘Apparently the look on her face was amazing when she realised that I had won and she had to receive the sword.’

His citation read: ‘He has effortlessly driven complex and often inter-linked projects forward with boundless optimism and a deep technical understanding, resulting in hard-won praise from Navy Command staff and experienced ATLAS contractors for his partnering approach to each challenge.

‘Training groups and lodgers units at HMS Collingwood were encouraged to be involved in the IT evolution at the base and Mike nurtured a small team of information support staff drawn from across the site to support the required outcome. All of this required leadership skills, strong communication and personal engagement – strengths he possesses in abundance.’