The Writing Equipment Society makes a date with SSAFA

A date? No, 366 actually because The Writing Equipment Society (WES) is donating all profits from its 2024 calendar – its first – to SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity.

This generous move came about after the much-loved and much-missed Chairman and Editor of the WES Journal, Ian Williamson, died late last year.

Ian, who in his younger days was both in the Royal Artillery as a Territorial and, interestingly, was also a US GI*, was helped by the Staffordshire Branch of SSAFA – specifically Stan Whittenbury, one of the branch’s volunteer caseworkers.

Ian and his wife Ann were helped with adaptations for their home when Ian became wheelchair-bound. At Ian’s funeral in December last year, donations were made and as per his wishes, they went the SSAFA Staffordshire Branch.

Similarly, funds raised from the sale of the calendar, which was launched at UK Pen Shows London Show last Sunday (October 8, 2023), will go to the branch.

Interim WES Journal Editor Chris Lewis – no, not the Chris Lewis famed for walking the UK coast for SSAFA – said:

The WES Council had no hesitation in choosing SSAFA Staffordshire, Ian’s chosen charity, to support and we’re delighted to think that WES can help the branch continue its amazing work in Ian’s memory through the sales of our inaugural launch of our 2024 Charity Calendar.”

Anne Mackinnon, the SSAFA Staffordshire Branch Secretary, said:

We’re just overwhelmed at this surprise and very generous assistance from the Writing Equipment Society, particularly the kind sponsorship of the calendar by Dr Jim Marshall – a very prominent and well known individual in the pen world – and that it remembers Ian.”

Anne recounted that when Stan met Ian he was unable to get around the house and a ramp was installed from a semi-basement area to enable him to access other rooms.

Stan, when filling out the forms, used a fountain pen and Ian was most interested in the gold nib and told Stan it was quite valuable.”

But the kind support by the WES also shines a light on the work volunteers, including Stan, do to help veterans, serving personnel, and their families so on behalf of him and all at the branch, thank you.

The WES calendar was also displayed by the branch at last weekend’s “Ride to the Wall” – or RTTW – at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas. RTTW, is the now-annual pilgrimage to remember those UK Armed Forces personnel lost since 1945.

To find out more about the fascinating Writing Equipment Society, visit and for further information about the UK’s oldest tri-service charity, visit

*Ian Williamson was also an extra in the 1967 WWII blockbuster The Dirty Dozen in which, appropriately, the writing was on the wall for a large number of Nazis.

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