SSAFA charity celebrates 130 years of service

Former Mayor of Morley and the region's SSAFA chairman Terry Grayshon.
Former Mayor of Morley and the region's SSAFA chairman Terry Grayshon.

It can be agonising to watch a loved one leave home to go to war, not knowing if they’ll suffer injuries or ever return.

And one charity has now supported families of the armed forces for more than a century.

The Soldiers Sailors and Airmen Families Association (SSAFA) is marking its 130th anniversary with a special service this month.

The charity has supported thousands of bereaved or injured soldiers and their families across the UK, since it was formed in 1885.

Terry Grayshon, West Yorkshire SSAFA chairman and former Mayor of Morley, said: “SSAFA is a most remarkable organisation, for over 130 years SSAFA has worked here in West Yorkshire, offering tangible support to members of our armed forces and their families.

“It has developed over the last 130 years to become one of the most respected organisations supporting the military family, wherever there is a UK military presence you will find a branch of SSAFA offering tangible support to those who need it.”

A thanksgiving service at Wakefield Cathedral has been organised by the charity to mark the milestone.

The city was home to one of the first SSAFA branches formed in the 19th century.

The Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, Dr Ingrid Roscoe, SSAFA controller David Murray OBE, local cadets and servicemen will attend the service.

Mr Grayshon added: “The Service at Wakefield Cathedral is an opportunity for all to come and recognise the vital work of SSAFA and to join us in commemorating this most remarkable milestone.

“I’d be delighted to see as many people at the service as possible, be they currently serving, veterans or friends and family, or simply members of the public who would like to support the event, all are welcome.”

The service at Wakefield Cathdral, in Westmorland Street, will take place on Sunday June 21 at 3.30pm.