WEATHER did not deter support for Hastings and Rother Division of SSAFA Forces Help at their biennial Service of Rededication held at St Augustine’s Church.
The Service, on September 23, was taken by the Reverend Robert Coates, SSC, Chaplain to SSAFA for more than 15 years.
Also attending were The Lord Lieutenant for East Sussex, Peter Field, the Chairman of Rother District Council, Joy Hughes, the Mayor of Bexhill, Joanne Gadd, Mayor of Battle, Richard Bye, Deputy Mayor of Hastings, Bruce Dowling, and Major John La Bas Freeman MBE representing the Mayor of Winchelsea.
Other honoured guests included Major General John and Mrs Moore Bick, Councillor Maureen Charlesworth, Honorary President of SSAFA Forces Help, Hastings and Rother with retired officers from the armed forces and members from branches of Hastings and Bexhill Veterans’ and other service associations.
Standards from the Army, Navy and Air Force Associations, along with those of the British Legion, including their Queen’s Colour, were paraded under command of the Parade Marshal, WO2 Shaun Pelling, ACF. Members of the Sea Cadets made the collection.
Reverend Coates mentioned in his address how the local branch of SSAFA served ex-service debt, sickness, allowing them to regain a reasonable quality of life.
The Hastings and Rother Division is one of the oldest in the country as it was formed in 1886 to serve those returning from the South African war. Solely made up of volunteers, today it closes more than 170 cases each year and also provides a visiting service for those in need of company and companionship. There is also a special group that helps ex-servicemen and women come to terms with the pressures of civilian life often those who have seen active service.
Bernard Stonestreet, Divisional Secretary said: “We are proud of our record and work arduously to maintain the standards set by those who went before us. Our primary role is to find ways of achieving what is necessary to resolve our client’s particular problems, big or small. These may range from form filling to relocation, furnishing and dealing with local and national authorities. It is on occasions like our church service that we are able to bring together those who support us, past clients and volunteers to rededicate our resolve to meet the challenges of the future and express thanks.”