For many forces’ families, this Christmas was extra special.
November saw the end of British combat operations in Afghanistan; 140,000 UK troops have served there, and the final few made their way home in early December to be reunited with friends and family for the festive season.
It was a time for celebration, but also a time to remember those who lost their lives, and those who will continue to need support, in many forms, for many years, as a result of their service in that conflict.
At Armed Forces charity SSAFA, we are already responding to those needs, through a vast range of services designed to support the injured and their families, those who are suffering with loneliness or isolation, and those who have been bereaved.
But we know from past experience that this is only the tip of the iceberg. Issues relating to active service can often lie dormant for many years, sometimes because of people’s resilience, pride, or simply not knowing where to turn for help.
More than 7,000 of those we are helping today last saw active service during conflicts in Northern Ireland, the Falklands, Bosnia and Iraq. Many last served over a decade ago, yet they still need and deserve our help.
So, while we welcome home the final few troops, I would urge everyone to remember the work that still remains to be done supporting serving personnel, veterans and their families here in the UK.
You can show your support by posting a personal salute to them at www.ssafa.org.uk/mysalute, or text ‘HERO29 £3’ to 70070 to help continue SSAFA’s vital work with the entire military community.
Air Vice-Marshal David Murray
SSAFA (formerly The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association)
St Dunstan’s Hill
• Want to share your views? Send your letters by email: email@example.com or post to Cannon House, Chatsworth Road, Worthing, BN11 1NA.