Armed Forces Day 2014 at the Royal Homes Wimbledon

Poppies for Armistice Day at the Royal Homes

On Wednesday, 11th November 2015, the Staff and many Lady Residents of The Royal Homes mustered around the flag pole for an Armistice Day remembrance service.  The service was led by the Reverend Mary Bide from St. Mary’s Church in Wimbledon.

Afterwards, everyone repaired to The Harman Young Room for refreshments and the unveiling of two framed poppies from The Tower Hill installation of 2014. 

These poppies were very kindly donated to The Royal Homes by two of our Lady Residents – Mrs. Jenny Cook and Ms. Jaqui Dunn Perreaux – (pictured) and will now hang permanently in the communal lounge for all to enjoy.



Commemorative Rose planted by HRH Princess Alexandra

 Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra, KG, GCVO visited the SSAFA Royal Homes at Queen Alexandra’s Court, Wimbledon, to plant a rose bush using the same spade that had been used by her great grandmother, Queen Alexandra over 100 years ago.

Her Royal Highness was invited to plant the 'Princess Alexandra of Kent' commemorative rose on the afternoon of Armistice Day in the rose gardens of the Royal Homes.

The rose replaced a Red Oak tree that had been struck down in last winter’s storms.  The fallen tree had been planted in 2005 – again, using the very same spade and in exact same spot – by HRH Princess Alexandra to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Homes.

Her Majesty The Queen Mother had also used the spade to plant a Norwegian Maple tree back in 1973 to celebrate the re-opening of Queen Elizabeth Court, following reconstruction, which still flourishes today.

The spade had first been used by Queen Alexandra on 15th July 1905, to plant a tree on the top lawn, to mark the official opening of The Queen Alexandra Homes.

The Princess took time to meet and chat with everyone who took part in the visit, including a number of residents who had attended her previous visit in 2005.  She was thrilled to be invited back to the Royal Homes and to hear from the ladies themselves how happy they were, and how much they appreciated the opportunity to live in such an exceptional residence, and how much they valued their royal patronage. 

A keen gardener and rose grower herself, the Princess was delighted to be invited back to the SSAFA Royal Homes to meet the residents and plant the commemorative rose, and remarked that she looked forward to hearing how it is doing in a year or two’s time.

The Princess commented on the long-standing connection between Queen Alexandra Court and the Royal family and noted how remarkable it was to be using the spade that was first used over 100 years ago.

Her Royal Highness was also delighted to see the sterling work that the staff and everyone at SSAFA continue to do to support the Forces family.

Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra was joined by The Mayor of Merton, Councillor Agatha Akyigyina, and the Deputy Lieutenant for the London, The Rt Hon Sir John Wheeler, SSAFA Trustee and Chairman of The Royal Homes Friends Committee, Lady Jackson, as she unveiled a plaque to confirm the planting.

Lady Jackson commented: “The staff and residents of the Royal Homes were honoured that Her Royal Highness could be with us on such a significant day, as we remembered the lives lost of those who served in the First World War and in every conflict since.”

“As the only military charity in operation at the start of the First World War and still in existence today, SSAFA continues to provide support to those from the entire military community, and The Royal Homes offers an opportunity for ladies with a Forces connection to live independently. “We look forward to watching this beautiful rose bloom for many years to come.”

After the planting ceremony, The Princess attended a small reception where she was introduced to residents, staff members and members of the Friends Committee, to talk about the activities in the Royal Homes and the work of SSAFA.


The SSAFA Royal Homes celebrates Armed Forces Day 2014

Earlier this summer, the Royal Homes held a garden party to celebrate the commitment and bravery of all who have served their country, past and present. 

The deputy Mayor of Merton and friends and relations of the residents and staff  of the Royal Homes were welcomed to the beautiful gardens of Queen Alexandra’s Court for Armed Forces Day 2014.

Staff and residents of the Homes joined together to show their support for the men and women who make up the armed forces community; from currently serving troops and their families, to veterans and Cadets.

Judith Martin,  Manager at the Royal Homes, said: “The garden party was a wonderful celebration for residents, supporters and members of the local community.”

“It was also an opportunity for us to honour the contribution made to our country by the men and women who serve.  We were very fortunate to be joined by members of the Band of The Life Guards from Hyde Parks, Knightsbridge, reaffirming our links with the service community.”

The Royal Homes in Wimbledon is a subsidiary charity of SSAFA and was founded in 1899 by Sir James Gildea, with its main purpose to assist  gentlewomen in reduced circumstances.

The Royal Homes provide residences for up to 76 women at any one time who are widows, divorcees or unmarried daughters of Officers or Warrant Officers and women who are retired Officers or Warrant Officers of the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force.

In 2013 the Royal Homes accommodated 82 ladies with a Service connection who needed a safe and comfortable place to stay following a change in their personal circumstances.