Those who still bear the scars of service to our country

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At this time of year our thoughts are with those who have lost loved ones in conflict.

As Remembrance Sunday draws close we think not only about those who fought so bravely in the last century but also the troops who are serving their country now, often in difficult and challenging circumstances.

More than 330 British troops have lost their lives and hundreds more have sustained life-changing injuries in Afghanistan since 2001 and it is not just those on the front line who are affected. Conflict can also have a devastating impact on those left at home – the mums and dads, wives, partners, children, brothers and sisters.

The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA) – Forces Help has been providing vital support to our servicemen and women and their families for 125 years. From the elderly Second World War veteran with mobility problems, to soldiers seriously wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan, SSAFA’s ability to adapt to the changing needs of our service community means we will always be there when we are needed.

The charity has two “homes-from-home” allowing seriously injured troops to spend much-needed quality time with their families and also runs family support groups for those coping with a sudden bereavement or coming to terms with life-changing injury to a loved one.

Our nationwide network of 7,000 trained volunteers is on hand to provide practical, financial and emotional support whenever anyone turns to us for help. In 2010 the Borders Branch assisted 61 people. 2010 was also SSAFA’s 125th anniversary year. It has been one of our busiest yet.

Anyone who has served for just one day could be eligible for SSAFA’s support, including past and present members of all three armed forces, members of the Territorial Army, our reserve forces and those who have done National Service.

If you think SSAFA Forces Help can assist you or someone you know, or if you are interested in volunteering, please contact the Borders Branch on 01835 850379 or visit www.ssafa.org.uk

Ross Thomson

Secretary, Borders SSAFA Forces Help