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


Flying the flag together for Armed Forces

Solent NHS Trust and Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust marked the beginning of Armed Forces Week on Tuesday 25 June with a flag raising ceremony in the garden of St Mary’s Hospital in Portsmouth.

The ceremony brought together over 60 guests including NHS colleagues, members of other public sector organisations and a number of charities, all honouring Armed Forces across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Armed Forces Day is an annual event celebrated on the last Saturday of June – this year on 29 June -  to show support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community: from currently serving personnel to Service families, veterans, and cadets.

Sharon McCann, Chair of the Armed Forces Networks at the Trusts, opened the event with a welcome speech before moving onto the raising of the flag.

Sea Cadets from Southampton and Portsmouth were also in attendance at the event, with one of their members performing a bugle call.

Andrew Spencer, Armed Forces Lead Manager at Solent NHS Trust, said: “It was a great honour to welcome serving members of the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force, looking exceptionally smart in their uniforms and medals.

“For me, the absolute highlight was the contingent of Southampton and Portsmouth Royal Navy Sea Cadets. They stood smartly to attention alongside the flagpole, whilst Able Cadet Eleanor on bugle accompanied the raising of the Armed Forces Day flag into the glorious sunny sky.

“We also had the opportunity to listen to a slam poetry reading which retold what life in the Armed Forces Community is for many, the uncertainty and worry mixed with a strong sense of pride in their loved ones’ duty. It was incredibly moving and thought provoking.

“This was the largest and most diverse gathering led by our Armed Forces Network so far. I was delighted to see so many taking the opportunity to make new connections, to see to young Cadets talking to the serving personnel about their experiences, and charities linking up and talking about how they can work together.

“I hope for our colleagues in Solent and Southern Health the event left them with a stronger understanding of why we support this important community and how we are working to constantly improve the care and support we provide.”

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