A WOMAN who tirelessly fundraises for military and civilian charities has been recognised in the King's Birthday Honour's List. 

Salisbury resident Sally Orange has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) announced today. 

Sally spent 22 years in the Royal Army Medical Corps as a physiotherapist and was medically discharged due to anxiety and severe depression.

Since then, Sally has dedicated herself to raising awareness of mental health issues and fundraising often dressed as a piece of fruit. 

Salisbury Journal: Sally Orange and Sir Andrew Gregory in LondonSally Orange and Sir Andrew Gregory in London (Image: SSAFA)

Read more: Sally Orange and the North Pole challenge

Sally said: “After a chance meeting with SSAFA CEO, Sir Andrew Gregory, he suggested the possibility of me raising funds for SSAFA, I don’t know why, but straight away I thought ‘ahh I could be a Jaffa for SSAFA’ and that was that.”

This year, Sally ran 7 marathons on 7 continents in just 7 days and raised money for 7 charities which included SSAFA the Armed Forces Charity. 

She is the only person in the world to have completed the challenge while dressed as pieces of fruit - all to break down the stigma of mental illness. 

Read more: New Mayor to bring the community together

Having run 100 kilometres across the Gobi Desert dressed as a slice of orange for SSAFA, Sally now holds a number of Guinness World Records including for the fastest marathon dressed as a nut. 

Salisbury Journal: Sally Orange dressed as a nutSally Orange dressed as a nut (Image: SSAFA)

Sally said: “It’s taken me a long time to be able to talk about it, but there have been many times in my life where I haven’t wanted to be alive.

“Some people assume that, because I went to Afghanistan, and treated some seriously wounded casualties whilst working in the hospital, that my problems are linked to that.

"The truth is, this was one of the best times in my military career. It was a time I felt a real sense of self-worth, had a purpose, and felt that I was able to make a difference to the lives of others.  Leaving Afghanistan, however, was tough for me. I didn’t want to go back to reality and often wished I had lost my life there. In my mind, it would have been a kindness to my family and friends as I wouldn’t be a constant burden to them.

“Those thoughts are with me still. But I have learnt to talk openly about them and get the help I need to help me manage them.  I want other people to know that there is hope and that talking to someone about the difficulties you are facing and the associated emotions, can help keep you safe."

Read more: The end of an era

CEO at SSAFA, the Armed Forces Charity, Sir Andrew Gregory, said: “Sally has been extremely courageous by being open about the challenges she has faced and encouraging others to talk about their own mental well-being challenges; there are few more relevant narratives in today’s society. 

"That, and the monies she has raised for charities, including SSAFA, are really important and she has done it in an innovative, engaging manner; indeed, as a lady with the surname Orange, I even found myself joining her in being a, ‘Jaffa for SSAFA’!  I am absolutely delighted that she has been recognised by the award of an MBE; I can think of no more deserving recipient.  Many congratulations Sally.”