The Royal Star & Garter Homes was represented at the National Service of Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey on 11 November which commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Armistice.
The Charity’s Head of Fundraising Catherine Williams and Marketing & Communications Manager Cally Madden attended the service following an invitation from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
It comes after The Royal Star & Garter Homes received £10,000 funding from the HLF for its own Centenary project in 2016.
The Charity was founded in 1916 to care for severely injured young men returning from battlegrounds of the First World War.
The HLF grant helped the Charity produce its special Centenary Book in 2016, which encapsulated its 100-year history. The Centenary projectalso saw historic artefacts associated with The Royal Star & Garter Homes displayed at a special six-month exhibition at The Museum of Richmond, and talks given toschools and community groups to help raise the profile of the Charity and the First World War.
Cally and Catherine were among 300 people connected with HLF Centenary projects from across the UK to attend the service.
Following the service, Catherine said: “When we sought funding for the Charity’s Centenary project from the HLF, we never imagined it would provide such an amazing opportunity to be present at this historic Armistice service and we are so thankful for the opportunity to share this moment in time. We both found it an emotive and thought-provoking experience.”
Cally added: “Both Catherine and I felt extremely privileged to represent the Charity at the Service. It was a truly moving event and gave us time to reflect on the lives of our residents, past and present, and all they have given for our country. Working on the Centenary Book to share some of those past stories was an equal privilege and we are extremely grateful to the HLF for funding the project.”
The Centenary Book features stories of courage and determination, beautifully illustrated through photos, sketches and letters.
It includes stories such as ‘The Flying Squad’, pictured, whose customised motorised wheelchairs were a familiar sight around Richmond Hill. Famous visitors to the Home, such as the Royal Family and flying ace Douglas Bader, are also represented, as are the endeavours of disabled artists and sportsmen, and the heroic exploits of well-known residents such as ‘the White Mouse’ of the French Resistance, Nancy Wake.
It is still accessible by visiting http://bit.ly/RSGHcentenary
As part of its Remembrance campaign this year, the Charity put together a #RSGHremembers campaign, which featured residents, volunteers and staff reflecting on the actions of their relatives who fought in the First World War.
Residents at its two Homes in Solihull and Surbiton also recited the Carol Ann Duffy poem The Wound in Time, which was written to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War, and read out across beaches all over the country on 11 November.
They also made poppies from the base of bottles at the home in Surbiton, and painted the flowers on pebbles in Solihull.