Signposting for Veterans at Woody's Lodge

News From North Wales: Supporting Veterans and their families

Spring, leading into summer, has been a busy period here in the North with a number of veterans and families requiring the help of our Support Officer, Tom Meaden. The assistance given has varied from help completing benefit forms, attending medical assessments for the DWP to advice on war pensions. 

The veterans at HMP Berwyn in Wrexham have heard of our organisation and are very keen to know more. We attended a coffee morning on the Veterans Wing of the prison and now have a promise from the guys that they will carry out a charity event sometime in the future in aid of Woody’s Lodge.

May saw the launch of Welsh Government’s annual Armed Forces Covenant report and Deputy Minister Hannah Blythyn chose our centre at Colwyn Bay to host the event, which was well attended. The Deputy Minister was pleased to see the support we offer to veterans and their families. She was also pleasantly surprised to see how well we coped without our ‘General Assistant’ or ‘Gofer’ as he likes to be known, Ray Lingwood, who decided to take a 7-week break in Australia.

Armed Forces Day came early to North Wales with the Submarine Service being given the Freedom of Anglesey at the event in Holyhead. HMS St Albans was tied up alongside as part of the public display and on the Friday evening, Tom and I were invited onboard for a reception and capability demonstration. A ‘Bootneck’ and a Matelot on one of Her Majesties Ships, what could go wrong!! All I will say is that ‘dark and stormy’ does not always refer to the weather conditions.

With the D-Day commemorations taking place in France, our volunteer, Bill Porter, set about planning an event in Rhyl and commissioned a ‘Tommy’ carved from a log, which on the 6th June was placed on Rhyl Beach along with the silhouettes of ‘Tommies’ being made in the sand. The event attracted in excess of 2000 people and our team comprising of Nick and Tom were on hand with the Woody’s gazebo. The satellite Veteran Support Drop-in Centres are popular and having opened one in Pwllheli at the beginning of July, we now have the North Wales coast covered.
What does the future hold? Well, we have been approached by an accomplished play writer by the name Tom George. He has written a play called ‘Dinner with Otto‘ which follows a soldier from North Wales in the first World War and it is to be shown in September in North Wales. Get your tickets here! Tom wants the proceeds of this play to go to two veterans charities and he has chosen Woody’s Lodge and the Royal British Legion.

Our Admin Officer, Nick, and I are working on a cycle event to take place next June to raise funds for Woody’s and we hope several of you will get involved. Finally, on the 2nd June, we had the honour of being invited to the wedding of our National Service Veteran, Ged Henshaw, and his new wife Barbara, with me, the good looking ‘Bootneck’ being Ged’s witness.

That’s it for now, I hope to see some of you visiting us here in Colwyn Bay soon and remember: ‘et semper in ollae’

Woody’s Lodge North Wales
Abergele Road, Colwyn Bay, LL29 8BN
E: C: 0149253

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