QAVS Celebration Garden Party at Ugbrooke House
Lord and Lady Clifford host celebration of Queen's Award for Voluntary Service, (QAVS) to the Devon Branch of SSAFA.
The gates of Ugbrooke House were thrown open last Friday afternoon, 17 August, by Lord and Lady Clifford to host a garden-party to celebrate the award of The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service, (QAVS) to the Devon Branch of SSAFA .
Delicious cream-teas and sandwiches were served from the Orangery, with many a member on SSAFA Devon performing extraordinary balancing acts with the food on the delicate china plates.
The artist Rob Heard, (who is a Vice President of SSAFA Devon), installed his hugely moving shroud-figures and remembrance-crosses in a peaceful garden location in the grounds. Shrouded 12” high figures representing corpses of the fallen, were laid out row upon row. Each figure was accompanied by its own wooden cross, one marked for each day of the war and recording the total number of dead for that 24 hour period.
A delightful addition to the proceedings was the presence of the very accomplished musical trio 'The Cocktail Hour' who performed a varied catalogue of works which suited the garden-party mood perfectly.
Lord Clifford gave an impassioned and very personal speech of congratulation which wove the distinguished military history of his family with the work of SSAFA in Devon.
Lt General Sir Andrew Ridgway KBE CB DL, President of SSAFA Devon, delivered an inspiring address and was eloquent in his praise for all our volunteers, remarking that Devon is one of only three SSAFA branches in the Country to have received the QAVS.
To mark the finale of the celebrations, a beautifully decorated cake was cut by Lt General Sir Andrew Ridgway ably assisted by Claire Williams (Branch Secretary of SSAFA Devon).
Brigadier Andrew Pillar OBE, Chairman of the Devon branch of SSAFA commented that “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.”
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.
The Ride to the Somme - Armistice Glade
The Devonshire Regiment Cycling Battalions
Retired RAF Officer Pete French is taking part in a sponsored cycle event to commemorate those soldiers who fought in the First World War and to raise funds for SSAFA. In August he will be cycling for 3 days with another 75 cyclists, 240 miles to the battlefields where nearly 1,000,000 men were killed.
In 1918 after 4 years of fighting Germany was winning the war. However, their supply lines were stretched, and the Allies responded with the 100 Day Offensive which eventually ended with the signing of the Armistice and the surrender of the German Army. It is the 100 Day Offensive which started on 8 August and finished on 11 November that forms the basis for the cycle ride. He will visit various battlefields and war memorials before cycling into the forest near Compiegne and visiting Armistice Glade where the Armistice was signed 100 years ago.
Pete is a volunteer caseworker for SSAFA and has helped many families in the South Hams area over the past 5 years. He said ‘Devon is a military county with over 75,000 veterans living here. SSAFA is a marvellous organization which is underfunded for all the work we do; the fund raising will enable us to continue providing lifelong support to the Armed Forces community, including serving personnel, veterans and their families’. If you would like to make a donation please visit
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.
SSAFA Devon AGM 2018
On Friday 20 April the Devon Branch of SSAFA the Armed Forces charity held its Annual General Meeting at Wyvern Barracks in Exeter. The meeting was chaired by the Branch President, Sir Andrew Ridgway. In addition to about 50 Branch volunteers were a number of guests from local charitable organisations and bodies with an interest in the welfare of military veterans and their families. The meeting was addressed by Steve Baynes, Head of Grants & Social Policy for The Royal British Legion and Sir Andrew Gregory Chief Executive of SSAFA. Mr David Fursdon esq, Her Majesty's Lord-lieutenant for Devon attended and presented Long Service Awards to a number of SSAFA volunteers; see pictures in Gallery.