The Committee continues its work to assist present and past Service personnel and their families. Requests are welcomed from any serving or retired Service person or their dependents. They do not need to be Catholic, only to have a relative who serves, or served, in the Forces.
Requests for assistance continue to be passed to us through British Legion, SSAFA, Social Services and some St Vincent de Paul groups. Money is primarily only allocated for specific items such as cooker, washing machine, bed linen. The Committee looks carefully and sympathetically at all requests and we have been able to assist young people, with a service connection, who needed help with “one off” grants towards special equipment or books for course work.
To highlight just a few ways in which have been able to help:
- for Lourdes – donations to sponsor participants on the military pilgrimage
- crucifixes and prayer cards have been given for service personnel going to Iraq and Afghanistan
- for Bibles for Merchant Navy Ships through the Missions to Seamen
- help towards a social centre for Army wives and children
- for SSAFA toward the cost of an updated Services Prayer Book as well as to St. George’s Chapel in Westminster Cathedral.
The Committee members are very dedicated to the work and work closely with Bishop Richard Moth Bishop in Ordinary to Her Majesty’s Forces and the three Principal Chaplains. We rely on them to let us know if they are aware of someone connected with the Services in need of help. All applications for grants are dealt with confidentially; emergency requests are also dealt with promptly.
Bishop Richard Moth Bishop in Ordinary to Her Majesty’s Force
On 28 January I was privileged to join the National President, Treasurer, Secretary and Doreen Pooley on a visit to Headley Court. We received a security conscious, but warm, welcome. Another group of H4H supporters were also with us. It was wonderful to learn how our Service personnel are supported in their rehabilitation. Incredibly, amputees arriving from Selly Oak Hospital are immediately supplied with suitable prosthesis to start walking on their first day at Headley Court. What courage that must take. We were also shown the extensive range of equipment used and were taken to see the wonderful unit to which H4H contributed 80 million pounds! The therapy pool in that centre is magnificent.
In concluding this report I have four requests.
- Please remember to contact us should you know of anyone who might benefit from our work.
- Remember our work, we rely on Branches for donations so that this good work may continue.
- Contact us to give a talk at your Branches or Sections so a member of the Committee can tell you more of what we do.
- Keep all our service personnel and those we help in your prayers. There are still plenty of prayer cards for you to have, free.
Thank you to all members who have supported, and continue to support, our work.
In the last few years we have sponsored participants on the military pilgrimage to Lourdes (see story below) and we have given crucifixes and prayer cards to men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2009 we sent 100 pairs of boxer shorts and flip flops for patients in the field hospital so they can relax and not have to wear military uniform. These were sent through the courtesy of NAAFI and we thank them for that. We have also sent Bibles for Merchant Navy ships through the Missions to Seamen. These are sometimes in different languages.
On June 6th 2009, after the Pilgrimage Mass at Westminster Cathedral, a Cross that was part of the Westminster Canteen in the First World War was rededicated by Monsignor John Walsh, Principal RAF Chaplain. Here, you can see it being brought to the altar in the Offertory Procession.
On July 14th a memorial bench at the National Arboretum at Arlewas, Staffordshire, will be blessed by Bishop McGough after Mass in the Chapel there. The bench is in memory of all CWL members who ran canteens in Britain and overseas in both World Wars.
At the 2010 National AGM weekend in Torquay we heard about the Forces and how life is today with talks by the Principal Roman Catholic Chaplains. We also heard about ‘Help the Heroes’ – the National Project chosen by the then National President,
Mrs Doreen Pooley.
International Military Pilgrimage to
Lourdes, 22 - 26 May 2008
This year is the 150th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady to St Bernadette and also the 50th anniversary of the International Military Pilgrimage....read more
HISTORY OF CWL SERVICES COMMITTEE
At the beginning of the First World War an appeal was made for a Catholic recreation hut for the Forces in Boulogne and the immediate and generous response from members of the public made it possible for the League to obtain and open a hut there. The earliest hut in England, opened in 1916, was the one at St. Peter’s Hall, Westminster, on the site of what is now the Conference Centre of Westminster Cathedral. This was a canteen open twenty-four hours, organised by members of the League, for troops passing through London. By 1917 it had become necessary to form a Special Committee to plan and organise the work of the growing number of huts.....read more