Celebrating Veterans 2022
Welcome to our celebration of the contribution of Armed Forces veterans who served to support us all!
Age in Spain has a long history of supporting men and women who served in the UK Armed Forces and have since settled in Spain. Read their personal stories and find out more about the work we do in partnership with Armed Forces charities to help veterans of all ages and their families.
To mark our contribution to the UK Armed Forces Day on Saturday 25 June, we are sharing a new story every day along with information about the help we provide to veterans and their families in partnership with UK and Spanish charities.
Our Celebrating Veterans event brings together
stories from just a few of the many veterans and family members that we are supporting
our partnership with UK and Spanish charities, working together to give right help when it is needed
useful information and resources to help everyone plan their later life in Spain
How it started
Age in Spain grew from the vision and initiative of its founder Judy Arnold-Boakes MBE and her husband Captain Jim Arnold-Boakes, a WW2 RAF veteran, who themselves retired to Spain in the 1980's. They discovered that for some, life in the sun wasn't always easy - language could be more than a communication barrier and the loss of a partner or sudden change in circumstances could leave people isolated and vulnerable. They did something about it!
Thanks to their mission and partnership with UK Armed Forces charities, we continue their founding work today. Our services for the Armed Forces families have been running for nearly 30 years and are supported by more than 50 experienced volunteers working across Spain, including veterans.
Judy continues to closely follow Age in Spain's development today and is now our first ever Honorary Vice President.
Judy Arnold-Boakes MBE, Honorary Vice President
Our UK Armed Forces charity funders
Thanks to the financial support of these charities, representing the different UK Armed Forces, Age in Spain is here to provide specialist help to veterans and their families in Spain.
Age is no barrier - our information, welfare and social support services are here for all - from Armed Forces families with children right through to through to elderly veterans and their carers. We are indebted to the Soldiers' Charity, the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund and from 2022, the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity, for their financial support. This enables us to provide vital preventative services to ensure a long and healthy older age as well as intensive help at times of need, including the management of care grants to individuals on behalf of UK Armed Forces charities, so that beneficiaries are supported throughout their lifetime.
As the Army’s national charity, the welfare of soldiers, veterans and their immediate families has always been at the heart of everything the Soldiers' Charity does. Its founding purpose has remained the same since 1944: to ensure that every soldier, past, present and future, can live with independence and dignity.
In the past year, the Soldiers' Charity has supported around 60,000 members of the Army family in 63 countries across the globe. This has been achieved via its individual grants programme and by providing essential funding for 43 other charities and organisations such as Age in Spain, to enable us to deliver specialist services through information, social and welfare support to Army family members in Spain.
Brigadier (Ret’d) Peter Monteith, Chief of Staff at ABF The Soldiers Charity says in support:
“We are very pleased to support Age in Spain’s work in supporting retired Army Veterans and their families. It’s very important that everyone who has served their country can access overseas health and social services to enable them to live comfortably and peacefully in retirement. Age in Spain provide crucial practical help to veterans resident in Spain, many of them elderly and vulnerable.”
The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund supports current and former members of the RAF, their partners and families, providing practical, emotional and financial support, whenever they need it. It is committed to getting them through the toughest times, whatever life may send their way. It will consider any request for assistance, however big or small, providing a tailor-made approach to each individual situation.
It is unique in providing a range of support for serving RAF and their dependents, from support with childcare and relationship difficulties to help with retraining, injury, disability, illness and bereavement.
For former serving RAF members and their partners, it offers financial grants to aid day-to-day living, cover one-off unexpected costs for practical items like a new fridge or replace a broken boiler, right through to renovating homes to help people live independently. It can provide respite care, bereavement support or arrange telephone groups to help those isolated or lonely.
Peter Ashcroft, Head of Community Welfare Programmes, says:
“Partnership working is an essential part of the Fund’s support to the RAF Family, allowing us to get the expert help to the people who need it. The support Age in Spain undertakes is vital, even more so following a challenging two years due to the pandemic.”
The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity is the principal charity of the Royal Navy. It exists to support sailors, marines and their families, for life.
Beneficiaries lie at the heart of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity's purpose, its duty is to remain focused on their needs.
Since 2007, it has funded projects and facilities that boost morale for those who serve today. It also distributes millions of pounds annually to military charities which care for the children, families and veterans of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines.
Its funding ensures that its veteran community can enjoy life after the armed forces. It continues to support charities, including Age in Spain, who offer quality care and outreach to elderly veterans.
Mandy Lindley, Director of Relationships and Funding says in support:
"The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity is committed to supporting its beneficiaries, no matter where they are. We are pleased to be working in partnership with Age In Spain to ensure that our Royal Navy and Royal Marines veterans living in Spain receive the help they need. With RNRMC funding, Age In Spain allow members of the Royal Navy community enjoy their life in Spain by helping them access vital health and social services."
We are committed to playing our part.
Specially commissioned for Armed Forces Day, our Friendline volunteer Margaret Mackay makes a personal tribute to Armed Forces veterans. Watch the video here. And for the video and written version of the poem, read it here.
‘It’s been like a warm embrace!’
Every week of the year, our thirty Friendline volunteers make a regular weekly call to an older person, to provide a connection and friendship.
Find out more about the service here.
Real lives - real stories
Here is a selection of personal stories of some of the Armed Forces veterans we help - and the Age in Spain people who help them.
Thank you to everyone - including families and helpers behind the scenes
for giving us this opportunity.
Marine life - staying on course.
Who was the first ever female Marine and how did we help her?
Read Jonathan's story about how his mum was supported in her time of need
From tanks to tourists - under the night sky!
It's amazing where your army career can take you.
Read Martin's story to find out what happened to him.
And where is he now?
‘It’s been like a warm embrace!’
From mill worker to the better life in Spain. How did it go?
Read Shirley's story to find out what it was really like.
And where is she now?
From RAF service - to lifesaver!
It can happen to any of us!
Read how Mike's life took a dramatic turn and how his daughter Jacqueline coped with the support of Age in Spain and the RAF Benevolent Fund.