It dates back to1885 and started out as a fund to help military families at home while the Second Expeditionary Force set sail for Egypt. Major James Gildea wrote a letter appealing for money and a fund was set up to provide allowances.

Her Royal Highness, The Princess of Wales (the future Queen Alexandra) became the first president of what was then called the Soldiers' and Sailors' Families Association (SSFA).

Now 135 years later, the SSAFA – the Armed Forces charity is still providing to support to veterans, serving personnel and their families.

Read more: VE Day 75: Scotland's contribution to victory was immense

Many charities have been hit hard by the current coronavirus lockdown in more ways than one and SSAFA is no different. It has seen key fundraising events to support the work of the charity postponed and a increase in calls for assistance in getting basic supplied delivered.

Mike Hanratty, Glasgow branch fundraiser, said: “Our fundraising capacity has been completely destroyed at this time but we are still trying to help people. We have seen an increase in requests of financial assistance, but there are number of request including calls for food deliveries and sadly requests for help with funeral funds.

“At other times the help we offer can be very practical perhaps a suit for a veteran going to an interview. A few months back we even got a call from a veteran needing socks it can be something as simple as that. We help both serving members of the armed forces and their veterans, but what we have always done as well is help the families.”

To help the charity to be able to continue its work during and post Covid-19, they have created the SSAFA Emergency Response Fund (ERF), which will prioritise support for critical frontline services, ensuring they are able to continue to provide immediate assistance to those impacted coronvavirus.

To support this fund you can donate at

Another charity guiding ex-servicemen is the Scottish War Blinded, which was founded by the charity Royal Blind in 1915 to help blinded soldiers returning to Scotland from the First World War.

Read more: VE Day 75: Extra bread as workers enjoy a day off, how The Herald reported the day

Today, the charity provides free support to former servicemen and servicewomen from the Armed Forces – including those who did National Service – who have sight loss, no matter if they lost their sight during or after service. The charity is there to guide veterans in Scotland living with a visual impairment to adapt to life after sight loss.

Scottish War Blinded’s outreach workers are based across Scotland and provide one-to one advice and emotional support. The 17-strong team cover every local authority area in Scotland.

And while their two activity hubs in Scotland, the Hawkhead Centre in Paisley and the Linburn Centre in West Lothian, are closed due to lockdown, support staff are still providing help.

The charity’s centre staff, outreach workers and rehabilitation officers are working hard to ensure essential support is in place, from arranging shopping and prescription deliveries for those who cannot get out and telephone assessments for specialist equipment to help maintain independence at home, to linking people in with organisations who can help in their local area.

And while the veterans can’t be with one another to mark VE Day, the charity is encouraging the veterans they support to raise a glass at 3pm for the national toast and share pictures of the occasion if they can. The charity will be sharing these pictures on their Facebook page.

Rebecca Barr, Director of Services, Scottish War Blinded, said: “Although for most people in Scotland VE Day was a celebration, there were some veterans who were very apprehensive at that time because they had lost their sight in service and didn’t know what the future held for them.

“Many of them returning to Scotland during and after World War Two got their lives back at Linburn House. It provided them with somewhere to live, rehabilitation, training and meaningful work. Some even met local girls and settled at Linburn or lived in our hostel."

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