Bid to build purpose-built room for repatriation ceremonies

Bid to build purpose-built room for repatriation ceremonies

Left to right: Jill Pates, Millie Millington, Linda Arter, Terri Jory, Helen Orr, Pam King and Eveline Gillians

Terri Jory, left, prepares rolls with Helen Orr

First published in News Witney Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Abingdon and Wantage, South Oxford and Kennington. Call me on 01865 425431

THEY make thousands of sandwiches, serve hundreds of cups of tea and, without any training even comfort bereaved families, never asking for a word of thanks.

Now the women who cater for repatriation ceremonies at Brize Norton are hoping to improve their operation, following a number of generous donations.

The caterers, and Carterton Town Council, are planning to create a purpose-built room to provide military families with some much-needed privacy.

At the moment, receptions take place in one large room, where bereaved and sometimes distressed families are shoulder-to-shoulder with strangers.

Repatriation volunteer Eveline Gillians, 74, said: “Some families like to mix; others are in incredible distress. We are absolutely desperate to get this space for the families if they need it.”

The 34 local women cater the repatriation ceremonies in teams of eight.

On the side of the pavilion is a large shed where all the mowers are kept, but it could be cleared out and made into a room where families can have privacy.

But, adding in heating, creating proper access and access to toilets, not to mention the redecorating, will cost around £55,000.

The town council is currently waiting for several grant applications which should bring in around £40,000, but they have already received several donations, including £5,000 from local charity music collective Hopeful Notes, featuring Richard Frances.

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Mr Frances and Hopeful Notes put on three small concerts in September and October.

He said: “What better cause than this? The repatriation ladies give up their Thursdays to make sandwiches, it is all quite new to them.

“Some of them are really good at consoling parents, some are good at making teas, some make brilliant sandwiches.

“They cater for the hundreds of people who converge on Carterton pavilion.”

Other donations have come in from the RAF Benevolent Fund, and armed forces charity SSAFA, who have each pledged £5,000.

The town council is now waiting on applications for grants from Help For Heroes and WREN, while West Oxfordshire District Council has an application in with the MoD’s Community Covenant Grant scheme.

Both councils hope to find out the result of their applications next month.

Comments (2)

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9:22pm Fri 16 Nov 12

the wizard says...

I think these ladies and all of those who have gone before them at Lyneham/Royal Wootton Basset are magnificent, but why are we dependent on volunteers and public donation for something which should have been put in place as a matter of course by the MOD years ago.
To my mind it shows just what little value is placed on the value of these wonderful servicemen and women of this nation by the faceless suits of Whitehall, who should be ashamed of themselves.
I am sure that all the relatives are very appreciative of the work these good ladies do. I hope they receive the recognition they deserve. Wake up Cameron, this is on your doorstep and it should be coming from you in central government, not the public.
I think these ladies and all of those who have gone before them at Lyneham/Royal Wootton Basset are magnificent, but why are we dependent on volunteers and public donation for something which should have been put in place as a matter of course by the MOD years ago. To my mind it shows just what little value is placed on the value of these wonderful servicemen and women of this nation by the faceless suits of Whitehall, who should be ashamed of themselves. I am sure that all the relatives are very appreciative of the work these good ladies do. I hope they receive the recognition they deserve. Wake up Cameron, this is on your doorstep and it should be coming from you in central government, not the public. the wizard
  • Score: -4

1:33am Sun 18 Nov 12

H.J.Harris says...

the wizard wrote:
I think these ladies and all of those who have gone before them at Lyneham/Royal Wootton Basset are magnificent, but why are we dependent on volunteers and public donation for something which should have been put in place as a matter of course by the MOD years ago.
To my mind it shows just what little value is placed on the value of these wonderful servicemen and women of this nation by the faceless suits of Whitehall, who should be ashamed of themselves.
I am sure that all the relatives are very appreciative of the work these good ladies do. I hope they receive the recognition they deserve. Wake up Cameron, this is on your doorstep and it should be coming from you in central government, not the public.
The wonderful thing about the support by these ladies and others at the Repatriations is the lack of Government involvement. It has grown from a small, spontaneous beginning due to the big hearted actions of just a few to the event it has become.
It would be nice if they could get some help but the greatest thing of all that Mr Cameron could do would be the ceasing of the necessity.
[quote][p][bold]the wizard[/bold] wrote: I think these ladies and all of those who have gone before them at Lyneham/Royal Wootton Basset are magnificent, but why are we dependent on volunteers and public donation for something which should have been put in place as a matter of course by the MOD years ago. To my mind it shows just what little value is placed on the value of these wonderful servicemen and women of this nation by the faceless suits of Whitehall, who should be ashamed of themselves. I am sure that all the relatives are very appreciative of the work these good ladies do. I hope they receive the recognition they deserve. Wake up Cameron, this is on your doorstep and it should be coming from you in central government, not the public.[/p][/quote]The wonderful thing about the support by these ladies and others at the Repatriations is the lack of Government involvement. It has grown from a small, spontaneous beginning due to the big hearted actions of just a few to the event it has become. It would be nice if they could get some help but the greatest thing of all that Mr Cameron could do would be the ceasing of the necessity. H.J.Harris
  • Score: 0

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