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Local branch contact details
Monday to Friday 09.00-17.00 Contact by Email or Telephone only. For Tutshill, Sedbury, Beachley (Royal Forest of Dean) see Chepstow Gwent.
Phone: 01452 520 255
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100 riveting years of the RAF fly by in 10 minutes
SSAFA’s team of volunteers in Gloucestershire took time out from their monthly update meeting recently to help celebrate the centenary of the RAF.
The county became an important location for the RAF right from the formation of the Royal Flying Corps, during the First World War. By World War II its importance had grown and in the 1940s Gloucestershire was the site of more than 30 wartime airfields, camps and bases. Many were involved in notable World War II raids.
While today the number still operational is relatively small, a check on larger scale Ordnance Survey maps shows the site of many airstrips, runways and buildings from the past. A visit to this link will take anyone wanting to know more about the RAF in the county to an interesting web site about bases past and present. https://www.rafagloucester.com/rfc-raf-stations-gloucestershire
The picture shows ex RAF members of our group, after we’d all been given an interesting briefing on the Force’s first 100 years by our vice chairman, Wing Commander Hamilton Elliott.
His presentation also covered the important contribution made during WW2 by the Gloster Aircraft Company (formerly the Gloucestershire Aircraft Company). It built more than 1,000 Hurricanes and 3,000 Typhoons, as well the earlier Gladiator, the Meteor, which was the first jet powered fighter to enter active service with the RAF. and then the Javelin, which was in use from the 1950s to 1968.
NEIL’S OUTDOOR CHALLENGE HAS A HAPPY ENDING
It was smiles all round recently when our client, Neil Francis, was able to demonstrate his new ‘all terrain’ wheelchair acquired with funding help from SSAFA Gloucestershire.
Neil has been tetraplegic now for several years and was in need of the special electrically powered chair, to give him more comfort, freedom and access to the countryside with his dog, Bouncer.
Like a lot of things in life, the best things don’t come cheap, and the type of chair Neil needed isn’t available on the NHS, which is why he approached SSAFA for help.
Neil and a number of his friends were already working hard to raise funds to buy the chair, which he says is the equivalent of a ‘go anywhere’ Land Rover to him. With the help of our Volunteer Shelagh Woodhouse, who was able to organise a donation of half the money needed, the new chair is now here. He is seen demonstrating just one of its many abilities, which is to drive safely up inclines, enabling Neil and Buster to take walks in the hilly countryside near his home in Stroud.
DO YOU FANCY A NIGHT AT THE PROMS?
Come July there is going to be a special outdoor ‘Battle Proms’ concert in the grounds of Blenheim Palace and if you read on you could be there at a discount price.
The evening will include a 60-piece orchestra playing popular classics and vintage swing, a freefall parachute display by the famous Red Devils and stirring Spitfire flypast.
In keeping with the forces theme, SSAFA is the charity partner with the organisers, who are giving a £3 discount off the price of each ticket booked online which uses our SSAFAProms18 ticket code.
In addition, they will donate £1 to our funds from each ticket sold, so everyone will benefit.
The Blenheim Concert will take place in the Palace grounds on Saturday July 21st, with the gates opening at 4.0pm, following which there will be time for picnics, before a WW1 cavalry display to mark the end of the First World War at 6pm.
The Parachute Regiment display at 6.30 and the musical programme commencing at 7.40, with a field gun salute, the Spitfire flypast then the orchestral concert commencing at 7.45.
The evening will end at 10.15.
You can bring your own picnic, hire chairs and tables as well if you wish, or pre book a choice of hospitality and catering packages.
There is full information and prices for these on the www.battleproms.com web site.
THE INVISIBLE ENEMY
This month, SSAFA is highlighting one area of Veteran’s realities that do not always get acknowledged; Loneliness and isolation - the invisible enemy faced by many veterans every day.
With over 41% British Armed Forces veterans surveyed saying they have felt lonely or isolated at some point since leaving the military, and over a quarter admitting to having suicidal thoughts after finishing their military service.
Find out more and donate at www.ssafa.org.uk/fight to help SSAFA reach more veterans who have served this Nation; they have sacrificed a great deal and deserve our support.
OSCAR WIN FOR CHURCHILL STAR PUTS SPOTLIGHT ON SSAFA
This year’s Oscars ceremony didn’t just put a gold statue into the hands of Gary Oldman for his brilliant portrayal of Winston Churchill in The Darkest Hour. It also helped to put a spotlight on SSAFA, which was being highlighted in the film’s publicity
Set in 1940 and Churchill’s first days in office as Prime Minister, the film depicts a crucial period of the second world war, when Britain was faced with other European countries falling to the advance of Hitler’s forces and the majority of British troops stranded in France.
It was a time when the country’s leaders had a stark and lonely choice – face up to the immense challenge of trying to rally the support of the country’s population to stand up to the German forces or negotiate a peace treaty with the Nazis.
The odds at the time were formidable and loaded against the UK, but Churchill chose to take on the challenge.
Using the force of his personality along with speeches and arguments that proved to be powerful enough to rally the nation, he set out to stop Germany in its tracks and successfully turn around the tide of the war.
We all know the outcome, but the story remains a gripping one, with Gary Oldman’s performance hailed as the most powerful depiction yet seen of Churchill in the most crucial period of his life.
The setting is also one when General Montgomery, commander of the British army highlighted the role played by SSAFA, writing; ‘In the knowledge that his family at home are being well cared for by SSAFA, the soldier fighting overseas may wholeheartedly devote himself to his duty, without being worried by family troubles and hampered in the efficient execution of his duty.
SSAFA JOINS FORCES WITH AGE UK TO PROVE THERE’S STRENGTH IN NUMBERS
The Gloucestershire branches of SSAFA and Age UK have joined forces in a ground-breaking initiative to try and make the county the best in the country for veterans of the forces and pension-aged civilians to enjoy their retirement.
Following two years of planning and months of presentations to fund-holders, the two charities announced their plans to work together for the good of the growing number of elderly people in the area.
They believe that by working jointly and pooling resources, they will actually end up with a situation where two and two will make five, with each building on the other’s expertise.
Though both charities have specific aims to help make the lives of the elderly more comfortable and less stressful, there is not a lot of overlap in the specific assistance and support they provide. “We live in a very fast-changing world and have recognised that there are new, as well as traditional demands for our resources,” explains SSAFA’s Gloucestershire Chairman, Col Tony Singer, adding; “By collaborating with Age UK we believe we will be able to extend our reach and maximise the resources of both charities.”
Rob Fountain of Age UK added; “We have found that the work done by both of our teams is more complementary than competitive. With our long-term experience of helping and supporting the elderly in the community and SSAFA’s 132 years of assisting members of the forces and their families, we believe we will now have a much stronger team of volunteers, with greatly enhanced experience. Together that will enable potential clients to be given the advice and assistance they need more quickly than ever.
“Our aim now is to quickly build awareness of the enhanced aid we will be making available, with a support team which will help ensure Gloucestershire is one of the best places in the country for the elderly to live.”
Funding for the new work is being provided through the Ministry of Defence, using money being made available by the Chancellor from fines collected from banks which were involved in the Libor interest rate controversy.
WHY NOT COME AND JOIN US?
In our local community there are men and women who served their country well and have now fallen on hard times. SSAFA’s purpose is to be there to lend a helping hand to those who need it most. We are always keen to find new volunteers
Our assistance ranges from visiting isolated veterans in their homes to providing support to those with housing needs; accessing funds for house adaptations for service men or women injured whilst fighting for their country, to sourcing invalid aids needed by veterans who have answered their country’s call for help, but now need someone to respond to their needs.
The work of SSAFA volunteers can be uplifting, rewarding and to our clients, truly life changing.
SSAFA Gloucestershire is one of many branches in need of new volunteers to join our dedicated team. Our aim is to ensure that no call for help goes unanswered. Be a veteran’s hero. Join us as a volunteer today: https://goo.gl/AEkOKW