On October 12th, Jon Ham will be setting off from Kent to cycle over to Normandy, France to arrive at the D-Day landing beaches. Along with his cousin, Simon Cousins, who currently is serving in the RAF, Jon will pay his respects at the military cemeteries along the way before heading back home.
The trip is particularly poignant as both men have personal connections with the Armed Forces, as Jon explains:
“Seeing the final resting places of our heroic predecessors will be a moving moment. We are carrying out this challenge to honour the fallen and pay our respects – but it means a great deal to us both that our cycling will make a difference to the military community today as well. Some of the veterans that SSAFA supports were here fighting on the beaches, in fact. It is important for us to do our part to help our fellow Forces family”.
Having left the Royal Navy due to an injury after working on the submarines as a Sonar Operator for seven years, Jon had a difficult transition back to civilian life. Compounded by a marriage breakdown and the death of his mother unexpectedly, Jon found himself needing some short term financial support from SSAFA:
“At a low point in my life SSAFA helped me get back on my feet and find a place to live when I left the Armed Forces. Without them I would have been homeless and potentially sleeping on the streets. I really didn’t want to ask for help and felt that I was taking money away from people who needed it more than me, but now I am proud to give back to help future veterans in need”.
SSAFA provides lifelong support to the Armed Forces, veterans and their families in times of need. Beginning this vital work in 1885, this makes SSAFA the oldest tri-service, military charity running in the UK. This year alone, staff and teams of volunteers have helped over 67,000 people – from World War Two veterans to those involved in more recent conflicts and their families.
It has become clear over more than 130 years of providing Forces support that everyone faces different challenges, so SSAFA uses a tailored approach to meet the needs of today’s serving community. Whether it’s practical, emotional and financial support – SSAFA is there to serve the Armed Forces family every step of the way.
Support Jon’s challenge at: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/normandy2018
Notes to editors:
SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, has been providing lifelong support to our Forces and their families since 1885. Every year our staff and team of volunteers help more than 73,000 people, from Second World War veterans to young men and women who have served in more recent conflicts.