Lt Gen Sir Gary Coward steps down

Lieutenant General Sir Gary Coward steps down today (October 24, 2023) after six busy years as National Chair.

While the low point of his time in the chair was undoubtedly the COVID pandemic, he can look back on his time with considerable pride, having put in place two strategic reviews and the optimisation of the charity’s network through SSAFA@140 and latterly the Network Development Plan. Council is also more diverse and packed with relevant experience and wisdom.

And while SSAFA undoubtedly has its challenges, it is set fair to deal with them and to support the Armed Forces Family for many years to come.

He regrets not being able to spend more time out and about with our membership due to the pandemic, but is pleased to have been able to meet so many of our formidable volunteers and dedicated employees, as well as a few of our beneficiaries when conditions allowed.

As he moves on to focus on more local activity in Dorset, he wanted to thank the whole membership for its support and commitment to the cause during difficult times.

He will stay in close touch with the charity as his wife Chrissie and sister Gay continue to act as volunteer caseworkers.

Air Marshal Sir Simon Bollom will become National Chair on October 24.

The Controller of SSAFA, Lieutenant General Sir Andrew Gregory, said:

SSAFA is delighted to welcome Sir Simon Bollom as our National Chair of Council. I and all in the Charity look forward to working with him as we ensure we can respond to the changing needs of the Armed Forces community and can continue to provide serving personnel, veterans, and their families with support as and when it is needed.

However, as we welcome Sir Simon, I am very conscious that we will be bidding farewell to Sir Gary Coward. He has been an outstanding National Chair and has provided exceptional guidance and commitment over the last six years as he piloted the organisation through a period of modernisation, encouraging and supporting it to evolve. We have been most fortunate to have benefitted from his leadership and engagement.

All at SSAFA wish Sir Gary every good fortune for the future.”

For more information, visit

Our Executive Members

By @Cobseo 54 years ago

Afghanistan support

In light of recent events in Afghanistan, please find information and support resources here