Presentation of QAVS Award
Members of SSAFA Devon Branch receiving the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service from the Lord Lieutenant of Devon
On Friday 12 October, 9 members of SSAFA Devon represented the Branch at an awards ceremony at Devon County Council offices. Twelve individuals were awarded British Empire Medals (BEMs) for their contribution to the local community and 2 charities, SSAFA Devon and Dartmouth Caring were presented with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS) for their work. The QAVS is the highest award a charity can receive and is the equivalent of an MBE. The awards were presented by The Lord Lieutenant for Devon, David Fursdon on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen. The presentation items comprised a piece of engraved glass and a certificate signed by Her Majesty The Queen. Representing SSAFA Devon were: Brigadier Andrew Pillar OBE (Branch Chair), Group Captain Robin Chambers (former Chair) and his wife Sue (Caseworker), Diane Cartwright (Branch Vice Chair) and her husband, Mike (Branch Executive), Claire Williams (Branch Secretary), Martyn Evans (Divisional Secretary), Toby Hirst (Caseworker) and Norrie Millen (Visitor).
SSAFA Devon Branch nominated as The Lord Mayor of Exeter's Charity
The Lord Mayor of Exeter being presented with a SSAFA tie
On the evening of 15 May in the Guildhall , Councillor Rob Hannaford was installed as the new Lord Mayor of Exeter. He has chosen SSAFA Devon as the Lord Mayor's charity for his Mayoral Year. The extract below was part of his speech.
“This year marks the hundredth anniversary that the First World War ended, so my chosen Lord Mayor’s charity for my Mayoral Year will be SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association). It’s the oldest military charity in Great Britain having been founded in 1885, primarily to help the wives and families of soldiers and sailors wounded or killed in the service of their country. It has for the last 133 years worked tirelessly to help transform the lives of veterans and their families who need help and support.”
“Assistance comes in various forms ranging from provision of white goods or mobility aids for those with injuries and disabilities, to help with food, clothing, furniture and accommodation for those suffering financial hardship and distress. A significant number of them are now younger veterans of the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan who are suffering from mental illness and associated problems. Apart from a small team in SSAFA’s Central Office in London, the charity is manned entirely by volunteers, people from all walks of life who give their time and energy for free to help those who have fought for and protected our nation over the years. I passionately believe that that those who have served our country, and protect our rights and liberties, should get the best possible support when they need it.”
After the ceremony a special new banner advertising the Lord Mayor's charity was displayed and the Devon Branch Chairman, Andrew Pillar OBE, (on the right of the picture) presented the Lord Mayor with a SSAFA tie and lapel pin; also present was Andy Canning OBE, Devon Branch Fundraiser.
SSAFA Devon is honoured to have been selected as the Lord Mayor's charity and excited at the opportunities it affords us. We look forward to being the focus of and supporting the Lord Mayor's fundraising events.
SSAFA Devon Branch are in the money!
Some of the contents of the "wishing pool!
In August our Chairman, Andy Pillar OBE, heard that Buffet City, Chinese Restaurant in Exeter wanted to fundraise for the Lord Mayor's Charity, SSAFA. The plan was to donate the profits from a day's business (16 September) to the charity. A few days later he met the Manager, Mia Liu at Buffet City to drop off some awareness material and in conversation she asked if we would like the coins from the restaurant's "wishing pool" which needed to be emptied. Thinking little of it at the time, he replied yes please! When he went to collect the coins, expecting a small quantity, he was presented with 7 full plastic sweet jars and 7 large buckets full of coins! It turned out the wishing pool hadn't been emptied for several years!
Our Treasurer Terry and his wife Barbara had the unenviable task of sorting, counting and bagging the coins. Many were so corroded they were stuck together and had to be soaked in cola! The work took several days and we are very grateful to them and to Nat West Bank, Honiton for their help and forbearance. We understand that many of the coins were in such a bad state that they will have to be taken out of circulation. Anyway all the hard work was worth it. SSAFA Devon received a cheque for £949.48 (the day's profits from 16 September) and the return from the coins was £1184.83; in total a massive £2134.31. Well done Buffet City and thank you for supporting SSAFA Devon!!
SSAFA Devon Branch Awarded The Queen's Award for Voluntlary Service
The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service
Devon Branch of SSAFA is delighted to have been awarded the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS); the announcement was made today in a supplement to the London Gazette . The QAVS is equivalent to the MBE and is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work done in their own communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the anniversary of The Queen's coronation.
This really is a fantastic achievement and a huge compliment of which Devon Branch of SSAFA can be immensely proud. It recognises the extraordinary hard work, selfless commitment and dedication of all members of the Branch, past and present. We will receive a signed certificate from Her Majesty The Queen, a piece of engraved English crystal and the right, in perpetuity to display the QAVS logo on official correspondence and documentation.
1561 Shrouds laid out either side of the path in Northernhay Gardens Exeter
Lost Lives is an exhibit sponsored by SSAFA Devon to commemorate the Fallen on each day of the First World War and to show the true cost of the conflict.
The war started on 28 July 1914 and by the time it finished 1561 days later on 11 November 1918, the number killed from the British Empire was 983779. The exhibit has one shrouded figure to represent each of the 1561 days and has a small plaque showing the number lost on each day.
Lord Mayor of Exeter Christmas Hamper Presentations
2018 Christmas Hampers
The Lord Mayor of Exeter, Councillor Rob Hannaford, presented 7 festive hampers to Veterans of the Armed Forces and Supporters Community in Exeter. The event took place at Exeter Guildhall on Thursday 13 December and was followed by a mulled wine and mince pie reception. All arms of the Armed Forces Community were represented.
We in SSAFA Devon along with our sister charity, “The Baton” have, for the last ten years, endeavoured to bring some Christmas cheer to some of the armed forces personnel and their dependants across the county by the distribution of Christmas hampers and store cards. This year we have distributed over 70 hampers and store cards; that we are able to do this is thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor and The Baton charity and we are of course indebted to them both.
We are also very grateful to Greendale Farm Shop and Fine Country Living, of Ottery St Mary, who do such a brilliant job of preparing these magnificent hampers.