In recognition of the centenary of Aggie Weston's death, The Lord Mayor of Plymouth has graciously made a generous donation from his Councillor Community Grant to support and improve the pastoral support that we offer to the Royal Marines in Stonehouse Barracks.
Aggie’s Pastoral Workers Seonid Cunningham and Sue Christian have been very busy at RM Condor during the Autumn term, here Sue tells us what has been keeping them busy.
It has been a busy time foe the Aggies girls at the RM Condor in the past month or so. Beside our weekly Wigglers and attending coffee mornings, we have had our first Messy Church Event, Storybook Waves Bookclub and our BIG Aggies Bacon Butty.
Our Messy Church event was held on 16th October in the evening where a jacket potato dinner was followed by a harvest service for the families done by Seonid and Sue. Centring our message around the parable of the sower told in a family friendly way, all the craft and music followed this theme.
The families all made bird feeders made from ice cream cones and seed, iced gingerbread men making them farmer Joe or Josephine, and vegetable stamped an array of harvest fruit. It was colourful and truly messy!!!
Our Storybook Waves Bookclub continues to be well attended, especially with many of the marines deployed. Families look forward to their monthly story and games.
We held our big Aggies Bacon Butty on 24th October from 10am until 2pm. There were many bacon and sausage butties made by Seonid and Sue but our army off butty helpers made the day went like clockwork. There were eight helpers and we can’t thank them enough. It will be at least a month until we cook bacon again! However, we did raise £50.
Our Crochet Club has been busy and now has around nine committed crocheters making everything from reusable face wipes, unicorns, poppies and baby hats. Recently Sue and her band of crocheters are making time rabbits!!!!! A big thank you to Elizabeth for all of her help and skill. The group will carry on under its own steam in coming weeks.
Coming up we have our Poppy Waterfall for Remembrance Sunday, our Bring & Buy Sale and our Ladies Lunch. Amongst all these events, Sue and Seonid always have time to listen and have a cuppa with anyone in need.
On Monday 15th October, Trustees, Staff and guests of the charity gathered at Weston Mill Cemetery to commemorate the life, love and legacy of Dame Agnes Weston.
The service was conducted by Reverend Bill Gates with speeches made by RN Chaplain Reverend Janice Honey-Morgan, Aggies Pastoral Worker Mr Simon Thomas and Reverend Dr Scott Shackleton Deputy Chaplain of the Fleet.
Afterwards, invited guests enjoyed a reception at Plymouth Guildhall where they heard first hand accounts of the legacy of Aggie Weston’s, had the opportunity catch up with old friends and discover the work of Today’s Aggies.
Here CEO of Aggie Weston’s, Craig Fulton tells us a bit about her life:
Agnes Weston lived a remarkable life, sacrificing the comfort of a middle class professional home in Bath in order to work with lowly sailors, or “Bluejackets.” She had worked in support of Army personnel in Bath and wrote supportive letters to many of these when they were posted abroad. Her initial connection with the Royal Navy began in 1868 when a sailor on a troopship (HMS CROCODILE) heard of her letter writing and asked to be included. From that point she began to devote her life to her mission of working with the sailors of Queen Victoria’s Royal Navy.
In 1876, at the request of a group of sailors from HMS DRYAD, and with the assistance of her life-long friend Sophia Wintz, “Aggie” opened the first Sailor’s Rest on Fore Street in Devonport. Two years later in 1878 the second Sailor’s Rest was opened on Commercial Road in Portsmouth. The title of ‘Royal’ was bestowed on the Rests in 1892 when Queen Victoria issued her Royal Warrant.
In her autobiography Dame Agnes noted that the Royal Sailor’s Rest in Devonport and Portsmouth had over 1400 beds between them, and the total of men sleeping in them was over 350,000 per year, with many more using the Rests without sleeping in them.
Aggie’s desire was always to stay “in the harness” until the very end and she managed to do exactly that. After completing “another day’s work” she retired to her bed at the Royal Sailor’s Rest in Devonport and died in the early hours of the morning on 23 October 1918.
Dame Agnes was a lady ahead of her time and her influence and legacy live on today in the charity that bears her name. Dame Agnes Weston’s Royal Charity for the Naval Service is still privileged to have HM Queen as its
Patron. Today ‘Aggies’ supports serving sailors, marines and their families through the provision of Pastoral Workers who are there to listen, encourage, comfort and support their beneficiaries. The charity also provides support to families through practical projects such as Storybook Waves, The Ark community project in Plymouth and Aggies at Rowner.
Aggie Weston's Pastoral Workers might be considered Super Heroes by some of our service users; this week our PWs in Arbroath lived up to the claim....
This week Pastoral Workers Seonid and Sue from RM Condor in Arbroath hosted a party for the youngest superheroes.
On Super Hero Day the children had lunch together, made masks, created their own superheroes and had their faces painted. After lunch it was time for a super hero scavenger hunt and a Kryptonite war... there was just enough time to destroy Spider Man's web.
Just another day in the varied work of an Aggies Pastoral Worker
RNAS Yeovilton hosted their Air Day on Saturday and Aggie Weston Pastoral Workers, Alan and Hilary were on hand to help keep staff cool. Hilary tells us all about their day.
On Air Day Alan and I spend the morning walking the air station meeting people and being a friendly face to those visiting – approx. 40,000. From about 13.00 we then venture out with our cool box and trolley filled with ice-creams and give them to as many serving personnel we can find who are working hard to make the day go well for all those visiting. This includes “air command” who are located in the fire station, those guarding the entrances and everyone else. This year we gave away nearly 200 ice-creams a welcome by all those in the heat!
It’s a long day but a rewarding one as we spread a little happiness across the station, it’s amazing what an ice-cream and friendly smile can do!
On Tuesday following Air Day we then visited air traffic control with “posh” biscuits and a “thank you” for those working to keep all the aircraft in the sky and the pilots safe
Aggie Weston Pastoral workers were out and about over the weekend ensuring our serving personnel were kept fed and cool!
At RNAS Yeovilton Air Day Aggie Pastoral Workers Alan Richardson and Hilary knight were out and about providing the teams or personnel working the air with ice cold lollies, whilst down the road at RM Stonehouse Ian Taylor and Simon Thomas were providing personnel with tea and cakes in a shady area of the base.
Aggie Weston's Pastoral Workers will be out and about across the UK again this week, looking after our service personnel.
Aggie Weston's is delighted to announce that The Royal Marines Charity, a proud part of the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity have released a grant of £19859 to enable Aggies' to provide an additional 30 hours pastoral support at CTCRM, Lympstone.
Aggie Weston's currently funds 60hours of pastoral support to personnel at CTCRM, Lympstone. The Pastoral team; Zena, Vicky and Abi, have been working incredibly hard with the new recruits, staff and families of CTCRM, the difference that the team are making to the lives of the service beneficiaries was identified by the chain of command who requested their working hours be increased.
Due to the generous grant made by The Royal Marines Charity, the Team of Pastoral Workers at CTCRM are now able to provide more support to the Marine Corp.
Aggie Weston's Pastoral Worker Simon Thomas was recently awarded a Naval Base Commander Devonport Commendation from Commodore Ian Shipperley.
Simon earned the commendation for working alongside RNRMW Plymouth as they re-launched the community centres catering for the families across the city, the award also recognised Simon's hard work as an Aggie Weston's Pastoral Worker, which places him alongside families across Plymouth and enables him to help with pre-deployment events.