£5,500 raised at SSAFA Northern Ireland tea party and concert to mark coronation

06 June 2023

The Northern Ireland Branch of SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity held a tea party and concert to mark the coronation of King Charles III, raising around £5,500 to help fund its work in the province.

The guest of honour was Dame Fionnuala Jay-O’Boyle DBE, Lord Lieutenant of Belfast, who graciously agreed to unveil a coronation plaque in the entrance of Somme Nursing Home in Belfast, home to so many veterans, which provides a permanent reminder of the close relationship between the nursing home and SSAFA Northern Ireland.

Compered by popular Ulster TV broadcaster Rose Neill and covered by BFBS, entertainment and music were provided by a comprehensive roster of musicians and groups, including:

The Band of The Royal Irish Regiment
The Bugles, Pipes & Drums of 2nd Battalion, The Royal Irish Regiment
The Northern Ireland Military Wives Choir
Campbell College Pipes & Drums
Young Soloists from Strathearn Girls School, Belfast
“The Raven Micks”, a traditional Irish folk band made up of former Irish Guards

Brigadier (Ret’d) Adrian Naughten, the Chair of SSAFA Northern Ireland, said: “On behalf of SSAFA NI, its beneficiaries, and volunteers, I must offer a big ‘thank you’ to The Somme Nursing Home, Dame Fionnuala, Cadets of the Combined Cadet Force of Campbell College & Strathearn School, and all the musicians for making this event such a success.

“We’re all delighted at how much was raised, some £5,500 in total, which will go towards providing much-needed Welfare Support for our Veterans here in Northern Ireland – as well as the pledges received from the Director of Music Royal Irish and the Headmistress of Strathearn School to run further charity events for SSAFA this year, with the fantastic Military Wives Choir agreeing to take part.

“Many thanks also to the Police Service of Northern Ireland, The Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service, and St John's Ambulance who supported the event.

“Last, but by no means least, our thanks to Mike Clements, SSAFA NI’s Divisional Secretary and caseworker, who has been a tower of strength in supporting this event and has done so in his capacity as both a Div Sec and Caseworker. His efforts behind the scenes before the event relieved me of many concerns bearing in mind that many of our SSAFA volunteers , though 100% committed, are not as young and mobile as they were!

SSAFA has been there for serving personnel and veterans – Reserves and Regulars – as well as their families since 1885. To volunteer or fundraise for SSAFA, or to access its services in Northern Ireland, visit ssafa.org.uk/northern-ireland.

Please feel free to call our Forcesline if you need any support.

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