SSAFA Veterans club travels to Chelsea
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This summer, ‘SSAFA Southend Veterans’ Club’ travelled to The Royal Hospital Chelsea on their very first day trip, giving the veterans many opportunities for reminiscing, laughter and catching up with old forces friends.
The club, which is run by Michele Everett, SSAFA’s Divisional Secretary for Southend & Rochford, was set up in January 2016 and now has 75 people attending – 39 of whom attended the London outing.
Supported by five incredible SSAFA volunteers and with two wheelchairs at the ready, the troop who went to London consisted of 39 veterans. Some of whom were Royal Marines, two Artic Convoy veterans (both 92 years old) and two from the local Royal Artillery Association.
They met the coach at 9.30am on 26 July at The Royal Naval Association club on East Street, Southend, where the local SSAFA office is based. They then made their way to The Royal Hospital Chelsea, returning at 7pm, making it a long but enjoyable day for all.
Whilst at Chelsea, the club were taken on a tour of the grounds and the Royal Hospital, meeting Chelsea Pensioners for a story and a hand shake, with their slap up lunch of fish and chips or chicken and chips taken in the mess hall.
SSAFA Southend & Rochford division funded the coach and lunch; however everyone paid their own £5 entrance to The Royal Hospital Chelsea. The charity raised the funds for the day out by holding a charity golf day back in June at Ballard’s Gore golf course. Whilst they were in Chelsea, they met up with Alistair Sword, the Chelsea pensioner who was a guest at the recent golf day.
It is hoped that with further donations, SSAFA can expand the Veterans’ Club and put on more trips and support those that have already given so much.