Afghanistan veteran with medals and child
18 June 2013

SSAFA volunteers recognised in Birthday Honours List

Five of our volunteers have been recognised with three BEMs and two MBEs.

SSAFA volunteers recognised in Birthday Honours List

Everyone at SSAFA was delighted to hear the fantastic news that the dedication and commitment of five of our volunteers has been recognised in her Majesty’s Birthday Honours List; three have been awarded BEMs and two MBEs.

Judith Muston began volunteering for SSAFA in 1983 and in 1990 become Divisional Secretary of Barmouth and Harlech running her division with considerable success. She and her team complete an average of ten cases per year and forty friendship visits involving considerable distances as well as undertaking successful annual fundraising campaigns. Her hard work, dedication and kindness to those needing help is an inspiration to all and her BEM is richly deserved.

Retired Warrant Officer, Dean Pursell’s outstanding work has also been recognised and he has been awarded a BEM. Having served in almost every operational theatre from 1948 to the 1970s, Dean retired from the Army in 1984 and went on to work for the Merchant Navy Pension Fund. Following his final retirement from paid work, Dean joined SSAFA London Central Branch and since 2002 has become the lead case worker in the busy East London Division. Over the last ten years, Dean has helped more than a thousand veterans and their families. His rapport with the elderly veteran community is widely admired and locally he is known as somewhat of a hero although, his modest response in every case would be to say that he was ‘just doing his job’.

Martin Hay joined SSAFA as a volunteer caseworker in 1996, shortly afterwards becoming Divisional Secretary of one of Lincolnshire’s busiest Divisions, handling well over 100 cases a year. He has introduced a number of best practice models including forging strong case working practices with The Royal British Legion and SSAFA in Lincolnshire and introducing computerised caseworking in his Branch. In addition to his heaving training commitment, Martin is much involved in Branch awareness activity and fundraising. An outstanding ambassador for SSAFA, his efforts have helped ensure that his Branch has remained self funding and has recruited and retained confident and well trained volunteer case workers. Being awarded a BEM is testament to his hard work and commitment.

Lady Philippa Dannatt has been awarded an MBE having first joined SSAFA as a volunteer in 1983, taking up the post of Chairman of the Osnabruck/Munster/Dulmen In-Service Committee where she served with distinction for three years. After a short break and relocation to the UK, in 1998 she became Chairman of the Salisbury Plain In-Service Committee. Relocating back to Germany, in 2003 she became President of the SSAFA Western Europe Committee when her husband was serving as Commander of the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps. She was appointed a Vice President of SSAFA in 2006 and was a member of the Services Support Advisory Committee to Council 2008 - 2011 where her detailed knowledge and experience of Service life and clear understanding of the needs of Service men and women was invaluable. Lady Dannatt is also an active and enthusiatic member of SSAFA’s Adoption Management Committee and Panel, helping Service personnel and children find their ‘forever families’. Lady Dannatt’s devotion to SSAFA has never waivered and she has done much to raise awareness of our work and her MBE is richly deserved.

In Scotland, Major William Johnson TD, has been a dedicated SSAFA volunteer since 1990 and was Branch Chairman from 1990 to 2009. During his 19 years in charge he developed, guided and managed the Branch, overseeing its expansion from one room and one telephone, handling around 20 cases each year, to an operation dealing with 158 cases a year and distributing over £15,000 annually. Although no longer Chairman, Alan continues to fill crucial roles in the Branch, as a caseworker, Training Officer and IT trouble-shooter. Alan’s twenty three years of selfless and dedicated service has enabled his SSAFA branch to make a huge contribution to the well being of the ex-Service community spread throughout the City of Aberdeen and rural north-east of Scotland.

David Murray, Chief Executive of SSAFA said,

“On behalf of all at SSAFA, I would like to extend our heartfelt congratulations to Judith, Dean, Martin, Lady Dannatt and Alan. Their work over the years has been invaluable and their determination and care is an inspiration to us all. We thank them for their hard work; we simply could not do what we do without them and our other dedicated volunteers.”

From left to right, volunteers pictured are: Judith Muston, Martin Hay, Lady Philippa Dannatt, Major William Johnston.

Find out more giving your time as a volunteer for SSAFA.