RIFT is honoured to work closely with ABF The Soldiers' Charity, bringing much-needed support to Armed Forces personnel and their families in times of hardship or bereavement. Here's a quick round-up of some of this month's ABF news and events:

Formed in 1944, The Soldiers’ Charity is currently celebrating its 75th anniversary with a series of events and activities. Visit https://soldierscharity.org/anniversary/ to find out more about the history of this incredible organisation and to take part in the celebrations.

The Soldiers’ Charity anniversary podcast series

Featuring an introduction from Lorraine Kelly, “Conversations” is a 5-part podcast series exploring the challenges, sacrifices and rewards of British Army life. The series launched on the 12th of August with an episode highlighting the lives of Royal Engineers veteran Bob Semple, whose civilian work after leaving the Armed Forces saw him ambushed and captured by Al-Qaeda, and Sarah Adams, whose son James lost his life in a bomb attack in Afghanistan. In conversation together, Bob and Sarah examine the ordeals and impacts of military life. You can find the podcast at https://audioboom.com/channel/thesoldierscharitypodcast.

£96,000 grant to Broughton House

The Soldiers’ Charity has donated £96,000 toward the running costs of Broughton House, the Salford home for former servicemen and women. Broughton House houses 32 veterans right now, but is in the process of transforming into a Veteran Care Village in a redevelopment process costing £14 million. Once completed, this new development will almost triple the number of people it can accommodate, with a 64-bedroom care home and up to 30 independent living apartments. The village will also feature a bowling green, bandstand, fully landscaped gardens and a military support hub.

Supporting Army children

A £10,000 grant has been awarded to Scotty’s Little Soldiers to help develop their “resource village” for bereaved children, young people and parents. The organisation provides a range of services, from holiday breaks and group activities to offering emotional support and educational grants. The Soldiers’ Charity grant is going toward transport and accommodation costs for this year’s Christmas event, which aims to help people understand the scope of the help it provides.

Soldiers’ Charity Cycle ride 2019: 1st of September

Why not celebrate The Soldiers’ Charity’s 75th anniversary on the road, in with Ickneild Road Club’s charity cycle ride? Here are the dates and details:

Date: 1st September 2019

Location: The Five Bells Pub, Station Road, Stanbridge, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire LU7 9JF

  • Routes:
    64 Miles
    Registration from 08:00
    08:30 – 09:00 – Ride Start
    Very hilly route, with the toughest hills towards the middle/ end of the route. Food stop is approximately 1/2 way round the route. Ridable on most types of road bike, but mountain bikes not recommended.
  • 50 Miles
    Registration from 08:30
    09:00 – 09:30 – Ride Start
    A mixture of flat and hills including 4 of the 6 hills from the 64 mile route but misses the biggest hill. Food stop is approximately 2/3 of the way round the route. Ridable on most types of road bike, but mountain bikes not recommended.
  • 35 Miles
    Registration from 09:00
    09:30 – 10:00 – Ride Start
    Some hills on the first 1/3 of the route and mostly flat thereafter. Food stop is approximately 2/3 of the way round the route. Ridable on most types of bike.
  • 26 Miles
    Registration from 09:00
    10:00 – Ride Start
    Mostly flat route with food stop half way round. Ridable on most types of bike.

Sign up to take part here: https://soldierscharity.org/events/soldiers-charity-cycle-ride-2019/

The lost village of Dorset: 6th of September

Evacuated in 1943, Tyneham Village has remained deserted for over 75 years. Now considered Dorset’s “lost village”, Tyneham is a fascinating place to explore – and this guided tour is an opportunity to do just that. Expert guide Lynda Price and military historian Allan Wood will be on hand to take you through the unique history of the place, with exhibitions at the restored church and school buildings and a picnic area with refreshments at Tyneham Farm. The tour offers privileged access at a time when the village is otherwise closed to the public. Tickets are £20 and available either on 01392 496412 or at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/finding-dorsets-lost-village-tickets-66164404515.

Soldiers Festival 13th-15th September

Rounding off this month’s list of events, we have the ABF The Soldiers’ Charity anniversary festival itself in Walton Upon Trent. This 100% non-profit event will feature live music and family entertainment, all raising money for the charity and celebrating its work. Attractions include:

Live music from:

  • X Factor’s LMA Choir
  • Alive & Kicking – Simple Minds Tribute
  • ReBjorn – A Tribute to ABBA
  • Easy Lover – Phil Collins Tribute
  • Robbie Williams – UK’s Number 1 Tribute
  • Military Wives Choirs
  • The Stripes
  • Mark Mudge


  • Ollie Ollerton Appearance (Channel 4 SAS)
  • Aerial Display Show (Acrobatic Airplane Display)
  • The Silver Stars – Parachute Display Team
  • Cadet Marching Bands
  • Fireworks Display
  • Chilli & Sausage Eating Competition

Children’s activities:

  • Meet a mermaid
  • Flower Crown Workshops
  • Face-paint / Glitter Art / Hair Braiding
  • Children’s Storytime
  • Go Karting
  • Zorb Balls

Food & Drink:

  • The Curry Club
  • Various Street Food Vendors

Entry is from 2pm at Catton Hall, Walton Upon Trent, Derbyshire DE12 8LN.

Those are our top picks for current and upcoming ABF events and updates. Visit https://www.soldierscharity.org for more information, and be sure to check out their online shop. Once you're done there, come back and watch this space for more from the charity next month.

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