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Compassion helping families in their darkest hour earns Holly Fleet Air Arm award

Petty Officer Holly Sadler Rear Admiral Steve Moorhouse
2 November 2023
The care, compassion, empathy and selfless efforts of Petty Officer Holly Sadler during naval families’ darkest hours earned her the title of ‘Fleet Air Arm sailor of the year’.

Rear Admiral Steve Moorhouse, the Royal Navy’s Director of Force Generation, formally presented the framed commendation in recognition of Holly’s exemplary support, in particular, to three bereaved Yeovilton families, who’s serving people were assigned to Commando Helicopter Force (CHF).

The 33-year-old from Wensleydale in North Yorkshire spent nearly a decade as an ops room warfare specialist, serving in frigates HMS Montrose and Somerset, then passing on her knowledge to fellow sailors at HMS Collingwood and supporting training in FOST.

In 2021 she changed careers and joined the Royal Navy’s Family and People Support arm, relocating to Yeovilton as one of two specialist welfare workers on the air base.

Royal Navy welfare specialists provide accessible support services which strengthen and enhance the resilience and resourcefulness of Naval Service personnel, their families and communities.

This can range from providing a safe space and listening ear to shipmates experiencing personal challenges, through to guiding families to help available if they are struggling with specific issues and playing a key role when there’s a death in service.

PO Sadler has consistently demonstrated first-rate dedication, sensitivity, and commitment to Yeovilton personnel and their families in the most challenging times possible, for her unparalleled support, humility, and selfless nature, she is strongly recommended for formal recognition.

Tragically, CHF has lost three members of the Fleet Air Arm family during Holly’s time at Yeovilton.

Phrases such as “professionalism and dedication shone through”, “simply superb”, “brilliant” and “dedication, compassion, and self-sacrifice” pepper her commendation for the title of sailor of the year. 

This work has required the senior rating to draw upon all of her capacity and demonstrate considerable resilience and resourcefulness working in direct support to families facing the most challenging of circumstances.

Routinely spending time away from her own young family, she has worked to ensure the highest standards of service delivery at times when it is needed most.
In sum, says her citation, Holly demonstrated “exemplary compassion, empathy and selflessness, to ensure the individuals and their families received a level of support far beyond what would ordinarily be expected.


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