NAAFI and ABF The Soldiers’ Charity joined forces to serve tea and cake to families in Tidworth to celebrate 75 years since the NAAFI gave £1.5 million to the charity in 1944
NAAFI vans old and new served tea and cake to parents and children in Tidworth. Refreshments were served from an original 1940s van and its modern-day equivalent. On top of this, two classes of school children learnt about the role of the NAAFI during the Second World War.
The event celebrated the 1944 gift from the much-loved NAAFI of £1.5 million to the recently founded Army Benevolent Fund (now ABF The Soldiers’ Charity). Today, the gift is valued by ONS at over £65 million.*
In 1944, the funds enabled the fledgling Army Benevolent Fund to begin its work of providing a lifetime of support to soldiers, veterans and their families. According to the first annual report, the fund provided by NAAFI were to “ensure that those men and women who have thus indirectly subscribed to the assets of the (Army Benevolent) Fund shall reap the greater part of the benefits distributable, especially during the immediate post-war years when it is expected that help will be most needed.”
To this day, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity central purpose has not changed. Over its 75 years of existence, it has been here to ensure that all soldiers, veterans and their immediate families can live a life of independence and dignity.
Brigadier (Ret’d) Robin Bacon, Chief of Staff of ABF The Soldiers’ Charity said: “2019 marks 75 years since the founding of what was known as the Army Benevolent Fund, now ABF The Soldiers’ Charity. The charity was given its first substantial grant of £1.5 million, now estimated to be worth more than £60 million, from the NAAFI 75 years ago. This grant enabled the charity to support soldiers, veterans and their families in time of need once they returned from the Second World War. It has been a pleasure to be at Zouch Academy in Tidworth this afternoon teaching children and parents about this history of The Soldiers’ Charity and the NAAFI.”
*According to the Office for National Statistics composite price index, today’s prices in 2019 are 4,297.73% higher than average prices throughout 1944. The pound experienced an average inflation rate of 5.17% per year during this period, meaning the real value of a pound decreased. In other words, £1,500,000 in 1944 is equivalent in purchasing power to about £65,966,001.78 in 2019, a difference of £64,466,001.78 over 75 years.