A Happy New Year to all my followers. We tripped over to Dubai for the celebrations and here we are enjoying a Middle Eastern occasion with a couple of very liberal ladies who look remarkably like my daughters but they are in England . Owing to the time difference it is already 2012. Good luck to you all


Went yesterday to look at a site on which the Goucestershire Committee will hold a Beacon Party on Monday 4 June.  Its one of the highest points in the County and we could see 360 degrees around.  I thinks is an excellent site for it and we shall see many other beacons between 10 and 10.30 on that evening.  The sheep seemed to agree with me.  


Oh look here is a reindeer who popped by with Rose just back from Sri Lanka!!  "Oh no it is not " says Spot that veteran of the Reivers Ride - "its just people mucking around with me on Christmas Day"


Now that the Christmas is over it is time to catch up.  Here is what we got up to over the Christmas period, a good family lunch with 4 generations and look at the burk with that hat on!!  Amazing to be outside on Christmas Day, certainly not possible in last two years.


This is all pretty amazing stuff. Whilst we were all having fun with our families this is what was going on in the Atlantic. This is the clip from their web site and is worth reading in full.

"The crew of Row2Recovery may have spent Christmas in the deserts of Iraq and Afghanistan serving for their country, but rowing across the ocean desert of the mid-Atlantic is a very different and unique experience. The crew of injured soldiers are currently lying in third place in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, the world’s toughest rowing race, and Christmas day will be very much the same as any other in this epic marathon, focused on rowing as hard as they can towards the finish line in the Caribbean, still over 30 days away.

Speaking from Row2Recovery, Dad of two and double leg amputee Corporal Neil Heritage said, "Of course we would all love to be with our families and loved ones sat round a big Christmas dinner back home, but being here with the guys in the middle of the Atlantic is pretty special too. We remained determined to keep competing hard in the race and spirits are high. Christmas dinner might consist of freeze-dried food and I may have to row for half the day and then squeeze into a tiny cabin with three other guys, but I wouldn’t change if for anything."


We all have lots of cards but this one which came from a matelot is quite definitely my nicest card. It says it all - a happy smiling face from someone in uniform with a Christmas message. So this is my e card for all those who look at my blog. Happy Christmas to you all though why you read this gibberish I have no idea.


This is an ice sculpture of the new Bonhams building in New Bond Street. I went to a reception there as they are interested in holding a event for the charity in 2012 or 13. A lot of very friendly people. The ice sculpture reminded me of a scene in the TV version of Brideshead Revisited. It was melting fast as I left.


Mr Stitch and I visited the Horse Show at Olympia this week. He was very interested in seeing Lorenzo who rode 10 horses at the same time. Work that one out. He spent a lot of time trying to find a better saddle as so fed up with carrying my dead weight. He couldn't believe his eyes when he saw this rocking horse. He asked if the cavalry had run out of horses? Scots Greys in this case. He was mollified when he discovered a bottle of whisky hidden in his flanks. No manure though!


There has been such fantastic response to our ‘Thanks, Soldier’ campaign. This flag is a symbol of the appreciation the nation has for our soldiers and the Armed Forces in general. As well as saying ‘Thanks, Soldier’, we’d like to say thank you to everyone who visited, added their faces and made it happen.”


Whilst we're making plans to head home for Christmas, the Row2Recovery team are never far from our minds. They've been at sea for 14 days and are in 3rd place in this epic 3,000 mile challenge across the Atlantic Ocean. 

Click here to read more about the Row2Recovery 


Had the office party. Everyone dressed to the nines and very happy. We were at HMS President a concrete ship, nautical flavour again. It has a fantastic view of the River and they did us very well. I got up to say a few words but was heckled by those infernal party hooters so I took this photo and said "what the dickens!"


Went to the carol service for the Sea Cadets in Gloucester. They have 52 youngsters and those I met were immaculately turned out. The Royal Marine cadets were in blues and the Royal Marine forage cap, very smart compared to the Army Cadets who only have combats. But for all that I met one
nice young man who had been a Royal Marine cadet but had just been accepted for the Army. He was very proud.


Was in the National Army Museum last night. They have a fantastic exhibition on War Horse,fact or fiction. I spotted this picture of Horse Artillery in World War 1. I had been thinking of the diaries which I had a hand in." From Geordie Land to No Mans Land" has become a bit of a hit. It had a full page in the Sun. See the link: The books are going well and can be purchased via Amazon.


I was delighted to learn that gifted musician, Lomotey (AKA Lawrence) Narhkom, who plays the trumpet in the Band of the Grenadier Guards, has recently released his first single ‘Why Look Away’ and will very kindly be donating 10% of the proceeds to ABF The Soldiers’ Charity.
The single is available to download through iTunes and Amazon to name a couple.
Thank you for your support, Lawrence, and good luck with the single!


Here we are at the Variety Xmas lunch. Variety Club of GB as it was called has re branded to "Variety, the Children's Charity". Interesting that this is so similar our re-branding. The Soldiers' Charity and Variety have strong links and Variety make donations to The Soldiers' Charity to help and support Army children. This is a sixties party so I should be in tune as I was then a teenager.


While we’re enjoying wonderful weather in London today, spare a thought for the Row 2 Recovery team who are sat in the stifling cabin sending their blog with a naked Will Dixon lying alongside applying white spirit to his stump in an effort to tough in up. Find out more here


This is the Battle of Britain Memorial on the Embankment and most impressive it is too. Beautifully sculpted it really makes an impression. We were taking a guided tour of "Heroes of London" and visited statues of Gordon of Khartoum and others. Met my daughter and son in law for lunch and he told me his grandfather's name is on the Memorial. The Battle of Britain one I mean , not Gordon's!!


We went to Guernsey to attend a fundraising dinner at which I spoke. They showed the charity DVD which got an applause and then we had "The Soldiers" the marvellous singing group, who are out here on the start of their next tour. They were very good and funny. For me a quiet moment or two to write to all those people I must thank for the British Military Tournament.


Message to the Boss: "Word has reached me that you rode another horse last night at the British Military Tournament. What cheek!! Who was this impostor? I hear he was called Eagle or something else stupid. I can't see that lump of Irish horseflesh leaving the ground! I shall get my own back next Saturday ". signed Mr Stitch, thoroughbred!


This is Boodles (diddums then!)who was the right hand wheeler (that mean he is the brakes) of F sub section of the King,s Troop. After the show he rode straight back to St John's Wood which he told me was a poor show after all the hard work over the weekend.


Here are three good men who made the Tournament possible. From right, Christopher Joll (the smart Waiter) is the brains behind it all by designing the script and creating a great show. Tim Carpenter who ran the back stage administration looking after an enormous number of participants immaculately. And then there is maestro Mattingley who ran the entire show on the technical side. He had to deal with gremlins and the odd dent!!!


Believe it or not this is the King's Troop during their drive yesterday at the British Military Tournament. But they were going so fast I couldn't get a decent shot. The Troop did well by completing 5 perfect drives.


The Royal Army Physical Training Corps are seen here jumping out of their skins at the British Military Tournament. They are amazing and excited all the crowds with their incredible  timing. Next year we are going to have PT instructors from all three services, could be interesting.


Here is Heather Noonan in front of the Tournament tree at the charity stand. She is the wife of John Noonan the stalwart Head of Administration. The stand at the Tournament was very busy. Great to see so many people here for the Saturday matinnee performance which is virtually sold out.


The White Helmets are preparing for to night's British Military Tournament. Rehearsals are going on in every spare space. Its all looking good for the Queen's arrival at 7 this evening. After note i think it was this guy who on Sunday saw his mother in the crowd, waved and then forgot to turn and hit the railings!!


Things are hotting up at Earls Court this morning with the US Drill Team doing their bit in front of the cameras.  Seen here is the old gaffer (me) and a peep of Christopher Joll, otherwise known as the Ayaltollah.  The White helmets did their stuff too and its pretty noisy. I find it extraordinary that they are paid to have all this fun.  And this is only the fraction of what is on offer. Visit


Spare a thought for the Row2Recovery team who are preparing for their row from the Canaries to Barbados. They are in the Canaries now carrying out sea trials. They have had the first taste of an Atlantic Force 4 swell and Ed Janvrin said it was "interesting". Their families arrive shortly to see them off. What a challenge. They start in 4 days time. they have raised £600,000 for three charities, H4H, SSAFA and ourselves so we send them every good wish.


This is Treacle who visited the office this afternoon (don't tell the landlord). She is just four months old and belongs to Sheila Haughton who does some work for the Officers Association with whom we share accommodation. Charlotte Bird our Financial Controller has taken a shine to her and it was a job to separate them.


Went to the funeral of Bill Ellis who had been a Chelsea Pensioner for 24 years. He joined the Duke of Wellington's Regiment in 1930 as a band boy aged 14. I got to know Bill as he remembered my father in Malta during the 1930s. He went on to become a musician but the war changed a lot of that and he served in Egypt getting to Sergeant Major and then served in Burma during the retreat over the Sittang River in 1942. He served for 25 years in the Army and then 24 in Chelsea. It was lovely to meet some of his family down from Fife. May he rest in peace.


Well well here is Baxterbear who is our mascot for British Military Tournament which starts on Friday evening. I see he is saluting and even has a veterans badge. That must be for his service with the Royal Regiment of Scotland in Afghanistan. Big Baxterbear will be at the Tournament all over the weekend. For more details on Baxterbear go to. Easy! For tickets to BMT go to.


Just been to Earls Court where things are getting organised for next week's British Military Tournament. Here are some of us beside a Chinook Helicopter. The amount of military kit here is amazing. From Right:  Brian Kettle, Sophie Lindsay, little old me and Anna Short, whom, is so efficient she is called the "General", so that makes two of us!! 


Went to a Variety Club Dinner last night and met Esther Ranson who is a founder of Child Line.  She is a great lady and most entertaining.  She spoke extremely well and moved us all when she spoke about the cases which Child Line to day. She mentioned there were a number of Army children that ring the help line.  Variety Club is a wonderful charity who support all children who are at risk.  The Army helps find opportunities for them to visit and the occasion last night was their opportunity to thank the three Services for what they do.


"I see no evil, I hear no evil, I speak no evil". Here are three of our Briefers who work hard to raise our profile with soldiers and units of the Army. They do a grand job and guess what? One is a Grenadier- he's the good looking one!


The best news came this weekend with the news that Sir Alex Ferguson having held in July a Golf Classic at the Belfry Club in Staffordshire to raise money for The Soldiers’ Charity, he gave to Richard Hackett our Regional Fundraiser, a massive cheque for £100,000.  This is fantastic news and given us all a boost as much for the name as the amount of his generous donation via his family trust, The Elizabeth Hardie Ferguson Charitable Trust Fund. Photo shows Richard on the left of Sir Alex with Paul Hardman the treasurer of the family trust.  Sir Alex said: W “We should be playing tribute to the job the soldiers do and the sacrifices they make in a big way and hopefully this donation will make a big impact.”b


Here is James Rous who I bumped into at the concert. He is one of our staunchest supporters and has run three London Marathons for us. He was there with Charlotte who is another blogger!! Its first time I have met another with this ridiculous habit. No wonder my hand shook!


Graham Jones has just retired from being the Director of Music of the Coldstream Guards and he held a concert in the Cadogan Hall this evening. It was a splendid show even if I had to listen to the long orchestral version of the Coldstream quick march. It went on for ages but it kept most of the audience happy. Graham has been a good friend of the charity's and we wish him every good fortune for the future. The most amazing bit was the appearance of the Swiss Army Drummers. They were sensational.


Since Wednesday the Ideal Home Show has been taking place. ABF The Soldiers' Charity is the benefiting charity so well done and thanks to Media 10. We had the launch on Wednesday and we had the Band of the Grenadier Guards. Only problem was the celeb in his welcoming speech called them the Coldstream Band. I nearly expired and had to explain to the crowd who it really was and that they were the Queen's personal iPod. In the photo we have two of our loyal supporters,Alice and John Mills, who were doing great work on Friday when I blew in. Thank you to all our volunteers who do so much for the charity.


This is where the King's Troop now organise themselves somewhere in SW1 by being based in the very centre of London. This will be standard practice once the Troop leave St John's Wood. How they fit in is amazing. They are getting ready for the State Visit of the President of Turkey, no doubt lots of blarney on Europe and the euro!


Spotted this at Earls Court reminding me that the British Military Tournament is fast approaching us. Tickets are selling well and some performances are nearly sold out. visit


This is the team of Chelsea Pensioners who are helping us at the Christmas Ideal Home Show at Earls Court. The show is promoting the Homes for Heroes Appeal which has over 18 months raised £230,000. Despite the name of the Appeal it is for the Soldiers's Charity. We hope this show will add to the pot and get us to £250,000 by Xmas. Visit and come along.


This is Neil Heritage who I saw again this evening at the Row to Recovery Dinner. He is one of the six men who will row the Atlantic, a distance of 3000 miles. So what you may ask? Neil is a double amputee who was part of a Bomb Disposal Team in November 2004 when a suicide bomber blew himself up in Basra, Iraq. He was one of our first beneficiaries aand he helped us in one of our early campaigns. I saw him walk this evening and this time next month he will be half way across the Atlantic. Row to Recovery is raising money for H4H, SSAFA and ABF The Soldiers' Charity; they have raised 1/2 Million already and now their goal is a Million. Watch There will be more about this over the next month. We in the Soldiers' Charity will be rooting for Neil.


Having recovered from Status Quo caught early train to Newcastle for the launch of "Geordie Land to No Man's Land" a charming and interesting diary of a World War I Gunner by the name of George Elder.  George had been working in WH Smith in 1915 when he joined the Territorial Northumbrian Gunners.  He survived the war to return to WH Smiths and ended up working for them for 51 years.  His diaries had been in the family for many years but only recently have they sprung into action to

get them published.  The end result is shown here and the group is at WH Smiths in Northumberland Street in Newcastle where we managed to shift 50 books.  On my right is Claire who has done so much to get this project going and on my left is Viv her mother, a grand daughter of George Elder.  We were joined by Kirsty Irvine from Central Office and her father.  Now on train home which I very nearly missed as I was enjoying my time in "Toon" so much.



There is a general feeling in the office that I have gone to the dogs. Prompted perhaps by the dropping of my BlackBerry in the bath and then losing my pen (which I then found after a general hue and cry). What was I doing with my Blackberry in the bath!! Anyway I really went to the Battersea Dogs Home Gala Ball in the Battersea Evolution Centre, a great venue and a great show. Even rocked to Status Quo. The photo is of Fudge a Battersea Dog, lovely little chap. I don't think he rocked though.

11th HOUR of the 11th DAY

To day I attended with the Western Front Association the ceremony at the Cenotaph which they organise.  I was amazed at the crowds and by the full presence of the Service Chiefs of Staff.  Our party got an astonishing applause which was very moving.  We then went on to the Guards Chapel for a lovely service attended by about 400. It was a privelage to address the congregation and I commend to anybody interested in this period.


Went boxing last night and here you can see me in the red corner fighting for a cash prize for the charity.  Got a black eye and didnt got to work to day.  Noo noo, just kidding it was a black tie I got and I was in the audience!!  It was a boxing match bertween the Stock Exchange and the Army.  That conjures up a roaringly funny image of fund managers being beaten to death by squaddies but that wasnt true either. Placid Gonzales of St James 's Place organised this evening in the Brewery in the City and its purpose is to raise money for charity including ourselves.


Today I attended the Garden of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey. It was a mild morning so there were many people attending the brief ceremony attended by the Duke of Edinburgh and conducted by the Dean of Westminster and Mrs Sarah Jones , widow of H Jones.  I was able to chat to many from the Regiments and Corps whom we help.  All were appreciative of the good work done here.


To morrow we will all pause for 2 minutes at 11 o clock.  To morrow is also 11 of 11 of 11 of 11 so worth thinking about.  In our hurried life always looking at our e-mails it is a time to reflect and remember those who are no longer with us.  The Cenotaph will be the focus on Sunday when the nation pays homage properly.   It was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, and replaced Lutyens' identical wood-and-plaster cenotaph erected in 1919 for the Allied Victory Parade, and is a Grade I listed building.It is undecorated save for a carved wreath on each end and the words "The Glorious Dead", chosen by Rudyard Kipling. It was intended to commemorate specifically the victims of the First World War, but is used to commemorate all of the dead in all wars in which British servicemen have fought. The dates of the First World War and the Second World War are inscribed on it in Roman numerals. The design was used in the construction of many other war memorials throughout the British Empire.


Here is John Jeffcock (ex Coldstream Guards) who has organised a anthology of poems written by soldiers, sailors and airmen in all conflicts from the second World War to Afghanistan. The other person in the picture is Roger Field (ex Blues and Royals) who was one of the contributors and who was the person who organised the deal with the book on sale in the Regions,"Rogue Male". The photo was taken at the book launch where all the contributors were able to meet each other. I met several soldiers who were either serving or recently retired. Poetry is clearly an emotional escape and many I spoke to made this point. The money made from the book comes to the Charity. Thank you John.
Copyright (c) 2010 SIR EVELYN. >