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Community and mental health services for Southampton, Portsmouth and parts of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.


Beth's reflections this Remembrance

Remembrance is always a time where I reflect on my military career. It brings back some fantastic memories but it’s also tinged with fear and sadness. There is a sense of fear reflecting on some of the many challenging times I faced and sadness thinking of all those who have been, and are at present, affected by war and conflict around the world, those that never returned, those left behind and the huge volume of society whose lives have been changed forever.

As a veteran, and a military spouse - my husband is in the Royal Navy - it is invaluable to be able to connect with like minded people. We have a certain banter and humour, a shared understanding, that sometimes words aren’t needed, it’s enough just to be in each other’s presence. We may all have served at different times, in different services and for different lengths, but we are all part of the same family. That’s why the Solent Armed Forces Network is so important, for the support and comradeship, the laughs and the sadness, the reflection, and the memories we share.

And this year I am so proud that my daughter, Alice, 7, is joining me at our remembrance service.

She will be representing the ‘Military Massive’ from Berewood Primary School in Waterlooville. The Military Massive is very similar to our own network. It recognises that children from service families have a unique bond and often don’t realise that they have peers going through the same emotions when parents deploy and are away for long periods. The group offers them support, and time out from the classroom, but it’s not compulsory and there is no pressure, the purpose is fun, connecting and support. They also want to explore more about what goes on for service personnel and veterans in their local communities, which is why Alice will be joining me, so she can see that support continues, that veterans, reservists, serving personal, and families of those in the services are valued, supported, and have opportunities to come together.

Alice is really excited and proud to be with us on Friday and she is looking forward to going back to school and telling them all about it.

Here are photos of the Remembrance inspired artwork done by Alice and other members of Military Massive. These pieces of art have been displayed at the school for pupils and parents to see.

-Beth Carter, Lead Freedom to Speak Up Guardian.

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