Honiton: New, national charity will encourage support for service personnel

HONITON will be the home of a new, national charity being launched at RAF Lyneham on Saturday.

HONITON will be the home of a new, national charity being launched at RAF Lyneham on Saturday.

Barber Alan Rowe MBE has set up the charity, The Baton, as a symbol of the nation's support for our armed forces and to reassure serving personnel of the public's pride in their professionalism and dedication.

At the heart of Mr Rowe's campaign is a baton, made from the handle of a stretcher used by medics at Camp Bastion, in the Helmand province of Afghanistan.

The handle, adapted by military vehicle firm Supacat at Dunkeswell, will carry a message around Britain and possibly even abroad.

Mr Rowe, who says he has always been a staunch supporter of service personnel, told the Herald he was driven to launch the campaign after getting "fed up" with the way they were being treated.

"It was the whole scenario," he said, "everything, from accommodation and welfare to rehabilitation and medical treatment.

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"You get to an age when you've got to say or do something. I got to that point 18 months ago."

Mr Rowe, who stressed The Baton is a non-political charity, said: "I've listened to good words spoken and read brilliant articles by the bereaved, but they are fresh air and tomorrow's recycling. I want to keep the message alive."

A website, leaflets and even gifts to promote The Baton are now all ready to promote the charity and Mr Rowe, a keen member of Honiton Running Club, will form part of a 10-strong team, which will include serving members of the armed forces, that will carry the baton from RAF Lyneham to the National Memorial Arboretum in Lichfield.

The runners will arrive at the arboretum at around 2.30pm on Sunday, November 1 - a week before Remembrance Sunday.

"From the National Memorial Arboretum, we will be appealing from the heart of Britain to the hearts of Britons to carry the baton and keep the message alive," said Mr Rowe.

More to follow on this story.

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