MORE and more of today’s service and ex-servicemen and women are in need of help when they return to a home base. Some are leaving the services and may need help with setting up a home or finding work. Others have already left the services and have fallen on hard times.

We all know about those who have given their lives and have left behind families and friends who need help. Then there are those who have been wounded and have parts of their bodies and minds missing. Many organisations can help and they all work as a team.

Help for Heroes does wonderful work in raising funds to build new, or make alterations to existing buildings, in order to house our battle-torn people when they get home to Britain, or have been discharged from hospital, and in need of after care.

Many of these establishments, are furnished with all types of training equipment, gymnasiums, swimming pools, outdoor areas etc.

They may have suffered, and indeed may still be suffering from, many different degrees of wound, both physical and mental. It is essential they are given support and the best of care because their lives have been shattered.

These places need to be managed and staffed with qualified people. This is where The Royal British Legion comes in, funded by The Poppy Appeal.

There are also organisations like SSAFA, The Army Benevolent Fund, St Dunstans – which specialises in caring for blinded service people – The Royal Naval Association, Royal Air Forces Association, Homes for Heroes, Soldiers off the Street and many more.

All these bodies are working together for the good of serving and ex-service people, and they are all looking for people to join their ranks, especially The Royal British Legion. We need you. In Somerset, we are fortunate enough to have two homes, both built and staffed by The Royal British Legion.

Dunkirk Memorial House at Bishops Lydeard, just north of Taunton, is a care home for elderly ex-service people and has a dementia unit.

Somerset Legion House – right next door to Flowerdown House, run by the RAF Benevolent Fund – in Weston-super-Mare, is more of a convalescent home.

Serving and ex-service people go there for all kinds of reasons. Mainly after an operation or bereavement or simply for a break. I have given this place a six-star hotel rating because of the wonderful staff and level of care and attention given.

Other care and convalescent homes are staffed and funded by The Legion, RAFA and RNA in the rest of the nation. This is just one example of where your money goes.

So, please contribute to these organisations, whenever you see them in town collecting. On a personal note, don’t forget the annual Poppy Appeal in early November – you’ll probably see me in town collecting. If you have time, stop and say ‘hello’.

On behalf of those who will benefit from your generosity, I say, from my heart, A very big thank-you and may the Good Lord reward you.

John Gudge,

Chairman of the Chard branch of the Royal British Legion.