We were honoured to be joined on 21 May by Her Majesty The Queen at a special event hosted by The Duke of Wellington, marking 80 years of the Army Benevolent Fund’s commitment to a lifetime of support for soldiers, former soldiers, and their families.

Held in the splendid surroundings of Apsley House, the London residence of The Duke of Wellington, this was the first occasion to welcome Her Majesty The Queen in her new role as Royal Patron of the Army Benevolent Fund. Her Majesty previously was our Vice Patron and is the third Royal patron since the charity was established in 1944.

Her Majesty met several of the Army Benevolent Fund’s ambassadors, all of whom have benefited from the charity’s support. We were delighted to be joined by former soldiers, Bob Semple, Andy Reid MBE, and Al Hodgson, together with Brenda Hale OBE and Alix Hale, widow and daughter of Captain Mark Hale.

Al Hodgson said: “My wife and I joined four other ABF ambassadors to celebrate 80 years of our precious charity at Apsley House, where we were honoured to meet with Her Majesty The Queen. We heard about the importance of the Army Benevolent Fund from inception to today, for our serving military, veterans, their families, dependants and bereaved. Our youngest beneficiary aged one, and our oldest at 103, are two examples of the many that the charity ensures can live with quality and dignity. It was an evening that will never be forgotten.”

Her Majesty The Queen (left) meeting ABF beneficiary Al Hodgson (right).

The event is the first of several activities planned this year to mark our 80th anniversary. In 1944, the Army Board was determined that soldiers would not face the post-war hardships endured by those who fought in WW1. This led to the founding of the Army Benevolent Fund to provide support so that soldiers, former soldiers, and their immediate families could avoid hardship and live with independence and dignity. Today, the welfare of soldiers, former soldiers, and their families, including the bereaved, remains at the heart of everything we do.

Tim Hyams, Chief Executive of the Army Benevolent Fund, said: “We are extremely grateful to The Duke of Wellington for his long-standing support and for hosting a reception in Apsley House to mark our 80th anniversary. The Charity is honoured that Her Majesty The Queen joined us this evening, having so kindly agreed to be our Patron.  We look forward to the privilege of working with Her Majesty to ensure the Army Benevolent Fund continues to be there for soldiers, for life.”

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