The Not Forgotten Association Garden Party

Thursday 26th May 2016

The Not Forgotten Association (NFA) is a charity for the support of wounded servicemen from all three branches of the armed forces. Just after the first World War a well known opera singer, Marta Cunningham, was horrified that there were still hundreds of wounded servicemen in hospital wards. She persuaded her friends to visit them, to take them out to tea and to support them in their recovery. In 1920 she formed the Not Forgotten Association "for the ‘comfort, cheer and entertainment’ of the war wounded" From the beginning it had a royal patron, the first being HRH The Princess Mary and that patronage continues today with HRH The Princess Royal. I was proud to support the NFA during my year as part of the Master's discretionary fund applied to Charities of the Master's choice. Each year HM The Queen allows the NFA to hold a garden party in Buckingham Palace gardens and this years it was held on the last Thursday in May on a beautiful early summer afternoon. I was delighted to be invited with the Mistress to be the guest of the Association. It is a much smaller affair than the usual garden parties just 2,000 people from all the services and their supporters. This year Prince Andrew and his two daughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie attended and spent a great deal of the afternoon meeting and speaking to the guests. Being a smaller gathering the gardens seem almost empty by comparison and it was a pleasure to walk down to the lake and enjoy the sunshine and the tea of course and to meet a number of men and women who had so much to tell about their own service. I was especially interested to meet a veteran of the Burma campaign, a Chindit, who at the age of 94 was in incredible shape. His afternoon was made complete by being introduced to Princess Beatrice. This was the last of my engagements in my year. What a year it has been and what a lovely way to end it.