Over the past two weeks, we have been travelling the country on our nationwide bus tour. Bringing tea and cake with a side of entertainment in Waitrose carparks to veterans has been unforgettable, and something that will stay with us for a long time to come. From Godalming to Glasgow, we have travelled hundreds of miles and met so many of you along the way.
Starting off in Godalming before making our way to Southhampton was a great first day, followed by a special stop in Plymouth to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Falklands Conflict. This gave us a chance to reflect and to ensure that those we lost will never be forgotten. As we sat and listened to stories from all veterans, we took a moment to reaffirm The Not Forgotten’s mission; to ensure that not Service or ex-Service personnel feels left behind.
We have been so fortunate with the weather on this trip, as the sun has been shining and we’ve even had to nip into to Waitrose to get ourselves some sun cream.
We even had some special guests come along to our first stop in week two. Corgis made an appearance in Glasgow to be part of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, and we are sure that everybody would agree that it was definitely special.
Your support throughout this event has been overwhelming. From popping along to see us, to travelling over two hours to volunteer and lend a helping hand, Anyone For Tea..? has really brought us all closer together. It has reunited old friends, been the bridge between new friendships and has served as a respite from the isolation and loneliness that so many sadly experience.
Our celebrity friends turned up to share stories and songs (and perhaps a slice or two of cake) with veterans of all ages and backgrounds. Mayors, soap stars, Dames and television royalty all turned out to show their support and offer their ears for a sometimes much needed conversation.
As Anyone For Tea..? draws to a close, we celebrate the foundations laid by our founder; Marta Cunningham, who started the charity 102 years ago by bringing tea and entertainment to wounded soldiers who lay in hospital feeling forgotten and left behind. Since then, it has always been our mission to find, and ensure that they remain found, those who are Serving or ex-Service personnel. We wanted to find a way to honour the 40th Anniversary of the Falklands and celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, and this was the perfect way to do so.
This tour has been a huge success, and we wouldn’t have been able to do it without the generous sponsorship from Waitrose, who kindly part-funded us on this journey, and offered us up their car parks across the country to allow us to set up shop for the day. We are also grateful for the support of Best Magazine, Combat2Coffee and SEADesign. Each of these organisations and businesses have played an instrumental part in making it what it was; a safe space for veterans to find conversation and uplifting experiences.