Veterans who have experienced homelessness were pleased to be invited to an annual party at Buckingham Palace.
The event, hosted by Prince Harry and organised by the Not Forgotten Association, is held in honour of ex-servicemen and women from the Armed Forces.
When men and women leave the Forces, they can lack the skills they need for civilian life. They may struggle to find housing or work, and feel isolated. Social events help them to realise that they are not alone, and see how valued their contribution is.
Around 2,500 veterans gathered at the Palace to mix with celebrities such as Esther Rantzen, Fatima Whitbread, Richard Arnold, and Michelle Collins.
As part of their support for homeless ex-Service personnel across the country, Church Housing Trust funded fare to and from the event for residents of three schemes for homeless veterans: Hardwick House, Mike Jackson House and The Beacon.
Resident Martyn Laidlaw said: “I thoroughly enjoyed this experience, I enjoyed meeting other veterans and listening to their stories. It was amazing to see the palace up close.
“I had concerns about wearing my medals on the way to London, but I felt nothing but pride when wearing these in the palace. I found this a truly unique experience.”
And Callum Brannen added: “I found the day brilliant and felt proud to be a veteran. It was one of the best days of my life, and the experience has spurred me to make positive changes to my life.”
Service Manager at The Beacon, Sheryl Bartliff, said: “We can’t thank The Not Forgotten Association enough as they invite us every year to attend this prestigious event. I would also like to thank Church Housing Trust who fund the travel expenses every year for us to attend.
“It’s a privilege to be invited!”