Afghanistan veteran with medals and child

A great year for SSAFA's Big Brew Up

3 December 2013

A great year for SSAFA’s Big Brew Up

A look back at the highlights of our flagship fundraising event, including celebrity supporters and high profile tea parties held around the world.


A great year for SSAFA’s Big Brew Up

SSAFA’s much loved flagship fundraising event, the Big Brew Up, has once again had a great year. Whilst money is still coming in from events held up and down the country and around the world, it is expected that around £100,000 will have been raised across around 1300 Big Brew Up events. 

This year was the 16th year that the Big Brew Up brought people together with family, friends and colleagues for a cup of tea and a slice of cake to raise money for SSAFA’s vital work supporting our Forces past and present and their families. 

Highlights of the 2013 Big Brew Up, which culminated in October, include an incredible £3000 raised by Sally Veck at her event. Sally is our Ambassador for the Big Brew Up. Her daughter Private Eleanor Dlugosz, a combat medic in the Royal Army Medical Corps, was killed whilst serving in Iraq. Sally became the face of the campaign both in memory of her daughter and as a way to thank SSAFA for the support she received from our Bereaved Families Support Group following Eleanor’s death.

High profile support came from Lieutenant Colonel Dick Strawbridge MBE, engineer, celebrity chef and environmentalist who championed the fundraiser and from Beca Lyne-Pirkis who was a semi-finalist on BBC2’s The Great British Bake Off this year. Beca, who is herself married to an Army medic and member of the Aldershot Military Wives Choir created an autumn themed cake recipe especially to help promote the Big Brew Up. 

Big Brew Up tea parties took place around the world from Afghanistan to Diego Garcia. In London, the newly appointed Minister of State for the Armed Forces the Rt Hon Mark Francois MP addressed SSAFA’s Big Brew Up at the Ministry of Defence Main Building and spoke of the importance of SSAFA’s work in the UK and overseas. Secretary of State for Defence the Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP also attended the event at Whitehall.

Additionally, General Sir Nicholas Houghton, who this year took up office as Chief of Defence Staff attended a SSAFA Big Brew Up at the Defence Section of the British Embassy in Tallinn, Estonia. His appearance was at the request of Major General Riho Terras, the Estonian Chief of Defence. Embassy staff and families, Estonian military and government officials and ex-pats joined the Generals at the event which raised over 900 Euros for SSAFA. 

Catherine Bernet-Wilson, Events Fundraiser, who co-ordinates SSAFA’s annual Big Brew Up says: “We have once again seen a terrific response to our campaign. From people holding small tea parties in their front rooms to those holding very high office indeed. It is so gratifying to see money coming in to help us improve thousands of lives. The funding will go a long way to assist projects like our Support Groups for families affected by bereavement or injury, Short Breaks for Children with Additional Needs and Disabilities and our Norton Homes for the loved ones of injured, wounded or ill serving personnel. We look forward to hearing the sound of kettles going on across the country for next year’s Big Brew Up!”

Check out our Storify 'Time for the Big Brew Up 2013'.

Visit the Big Brew Up website to find out more about the event.