Honiton boosts soldiers’ charity

Cash desperately needed as Army Benevolent Fund braces itself for grant requests following soldier redundancies, due today.

The Army Benevolent Fund, which is under increasing pressure to provide grants to soldiers and their dependants, has received a �1,000 boost from a Honiton-based charity.

The Fund, widely regarded as the leading soldiers’ charity, accepted a cheque from Alan Rowe MBE, the founder of The Baton organisation, in Honiton yesterday (Wednesday) - a day before the Government was expected to make redundancies across the armed forces.

The cheque was presented in front of the town’s war memorial, in High Street.

Michael Pentreath, of the Army Benevolent Fund’s Devon committee, accepted the cheque.

He told the Midweek Herald: “We are delighted to receive this donation from The Baton charity, which is providing so much imaginative support to servicemen and their families.

“The Army Benevolent Fund’s resources are under increasing pressure to provide grants to solderis and their dependants as a result of operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and forthcoming reductions in the size of our Army will provide another reason why we will need a greater income.”

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Mr Pentreath added: “In Devon alone, we are already spending over �100,000 a year to help those who need our support and the Fund works closely with other charities such as SSAFA, Combat Stress and Help for Heroes in order to provide the best possible assistance to our soldiers, veterans and their families.”

Mr Rowe founded The Baton charity to spread a non-political message of support for service personnel and their families and was giving away his second �1,000 in as many weeks.

Also at the presentation was Company Sergeant Major Ryan Braunton-Turner, of the Honiton detachment of Devon Army Cadets.