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The Sandbag Times Issue No:58

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The Veterans Magazine

RFEA RECEIVES GENEROUS

RFEA RECEIVES GENEROUS FUNDING FROM ABF THE SOLDIERS’ CHARITY TO PROVIDE HELP TO THOUSANDS OF EX-SERVICEMEN AND WOMEN RFEA – the Forces Employment Charity - has received two generous grants from ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, totalling almost £400,000. The funding will enable RFEA to continue its hugely successful work to provide employment advice, guidance and mentoring to veterans through its Ex Forces and Bridging the Gap programmes. ‘Ma’s Collar Dogs’ By Julie Warrington The Ex Forces programmeis the only one of its kind which provides regionally based, comprehensive career advice and job opportunities to all ex-military personnel, irrespective of circumstances, rank, length of service, or reason for leaving. Bridging the Gap provides specialist vocational support to exForces who face problems in their lives that make it harder to get and keep a job and who are no longer eligible for CTP resettlement support. Commenting on the grants, Alistair Halliday, RFEA’s chief executive, said: “We are hugely appreciative of these substantial grants from ABF The Soldiers’ Charity. We couldn’t help those we do without the wonderful assistance and support we receive from our key funders. Thanks to the generosity of The Soldiers’ Charity we will be able to continue delivering life-changing support to many soldiers and veterans who need our help.” Brigadier (Ret’d) Robin Bacon, Chief of Staff, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity adds: “Offering our veterans advice and support to get back into employment after their time in the Army is crucial to their wellbeing and to securing their future. RFEA has provided their vital services for many years and they thoroughly deserve the grant we have awarded, which will help them care for our veterans for the long-haul.” Last year RFEA supported almost 20,000 ex Forces personnel and created over 90,000 job opportunities. was a nurse in the WAAF too, but she was killed during the war. You see, you look so much like her...” Ma said that the old man looked desperately sad, but then he reached into his pocket and took out these collar dogs and pressed them into her hand. “These were hers,” he said, “But l want you to have them.” Ma said that she couldn’t take them but the old man was most insistent, saying that his daughter would want them to be worn by another nurse, it would have made her proud, and so Ma– close to tears - thanked him and promised faithfully that she would always look after them. For a little over fifty years Ma kept those ‘collar dogs’ safe and sound, she retired from the WRAF when she married my Dad – who was also a medic – and she would let him borrow them to wear on his ‘best blue and mess kit’ but they’d always go back into her jewellery box afterwards. My late Mother(Ma to us kids!) was a WRAF nurse and these are her ‘collar dogs’ which came to me with the rest of her ‘treasures’ when she died. Turns out that they weren’t any ordinary collar dogs but ones with an interesting – and rather poignant - story behind them. We never did know the name of the wartime nurse whose Dad gave his girl’s collar dogs to my Ma on that station platform many years ago, but we -as a family – have never forgotten her, and I like to think that we never will. It is in the preservation of such stories as this that the memory of our unsung heroes and heroines survive, and I hope that in sharing this with The Sandbag Times, that others may think of ‘our nurse’ and those who served with her during our country’s ‘Darkest hour’ too. Lest We Forget. One day in the summer of 1951, when travelling home in uniform, she was standing on a platform and waiting for a train back to her home city of Nottingham when she noticed an old man standing close by and staring at her. Madidn’t take much notice at first but the old fellow kept looking and she was starting to feel a bit uneasy when he came over to speak to her. I remember her exact words when she told me what happened next: “I’m sorry to keep staring at you,” the old man said, “But l see that you’re a WAAF nurse...” Ma nodded and smiled at him and he went on “My daughter | 16 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk

Evaluation of the Veterans’ Gateway Are you a Military Veteran / Service Leaver? OR Are you the partner of a Military Veteran / Service Leaver? Please complete our survey which aims to collect information on your experience of the Veterans’ Gateway and the study is funded by The Royal British Legion. The study is being carried out by researchers from the Psychology Research Institute at Ulster University. If you would like to help us, you can access the survey using the link below: https://ulsterhealth.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_1zgFL5NLzORBnKd Alternatively, you can request a paper copy of the survey by getting in touch with the Research Team. Telephone: +44 28 7012 4877 Email: Dr Julie Doherty j.doherty@ulster.ac.uk www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 17 |

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