Connecting on Armed Forces Day
Though Armed Forces Day 2020 was unlike any other, separation did not dampen the spirits of Blesma’s staff and Membership.
Members from across the South west and London and the South East came together online in their respective groups to enjoy tea and cake and rather challenging but exceptionally well-presented quizzes, courtesy of BSO Steve Fraser and Outreach Officer Sarah Payne and BSO Paul Findlay and Outreach officer Jess Linge respectively.
The first online gathering of the day was the South West’s region commencing with the most important question – ‘Are we sitting comfortably?’. Of course, all had the opportunity to ensure their tea and cakes were at the ready! There was something included for everyone, from horticulture and art rounds, to the more challenging questions on the Royal Artillery regiment.
Questions around the history of Blesma following the second world war served as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices of military service, and the great losses that those who serve are prepared to make for us all. The presence of younger Members who have lost limbs or the use of their limbs in more recent conflicts likewise showed that Blesma’s vital work is just as important now as it always has been.
Finally, in solidarity with the entire spectrum of the military community, the Members and staff all joined together to ‘Salute our Forces’. This shared salute is to show our Appreciation and gratitude to all those who have served, are serving, or who have lost their lives in service.
The London and South East’s online gathering led by Jess Linge and Paul Findlay provided the opportunity to share military memories and stories of the Members’ time in Service; from amusing anecdotes to distant reflections on being drafted for National Service. Members had each received an afternoon tea box from Jess which they enjoyed during the video activity. This group too enjoyed a challenging quiz encompassing celebrity, famous logos, general knowledge, and military rounds.
The get together was concluded with a chat about future plans and hopes for a slow and timely reintroduction of Blesma social gatherings post lockdown.
We are moving ever closer to experiencing these face-to-face meetings once again but until then, and as an important way of marking Armed Forces Day, today’s video calls have proved a fun and meaningful means of celebrating military life and service, proving that social distancing doesn’t mean feeling socially isolated.