Afghanistan veteran with medals and child
12 July 2013

SSAFA supporters recognised by Royal National Award

Prince Michael of Kent Award presented to Group Captain Graham McMellin and Ms Helena Tym at SSAFA AGM.

SSAFA supporters recognised by Royal National Award

The Vice Chairman of the Hertfordshire branch of SSAFA and a member of the SSAFA Bereavement Support Group have both been recognised by Prince Michael of Kent.

Group Captain Graham McMellin OBE of SSAFA Hertfordshire and Ms Helena Tym from the SSAFA Bereavement Support Group were presented with the Prince Michael of Kent Award by the Prince himself at the SSAFA AGM in London on Wednesday 10 July 2013.

The Prince Michael of Kent Award is made annually and recognises members of SSAFA's 7,000 strong network of volunteers who go beyond the call of duty in the service of the charity and the Forces family.

Graham McMellin, who joined SSAFA as a caseworker in 2009, has since held positions as Branch IT Co-ordinator, the Regional Representative for Central Southern Region and in 2006 assumed the appointment of Trustee and member of Council, bringing strong leadership and understanding of branch network operations at every level.

Helena Tym became a member of the SSAFA Bereavement Support group following the death of her son Cyrus, who was killed by an IED whilst serving with 2 Rifles in Afghanistan on 2 June 2009.

In order to make some sense of such a personal tragedy Helena began to write everything down. Her writings became a book ‘Chin Up, Head Down’, which was published on the anniversary of her son’s death three years later in June 2012. Proceeds from the sale of the book will go towards supporting other service families through SSAFA.

SSAFA Chief Executive, Air Vice-Marshal, The Honourable David Murray CVO OBE commented, “Graham’s considerable talent, wide experience and thorough appreciation of the volunteer perspective at several levels has been exceptional throughout”

“Helena’s book has given a voice to bereaved parents and her work with others in the Support Group and her generosity in donating one pound from the sale of each book to SSAFA has been inspirational.”

“Today the efforts of two extraordinary people have been formally recognised. They are both shining examples of how our people continue to provide practical and emotional support and understanding to our Forces and their families.”