Military charity to honour families who have served for generations

Kirsty Bushell's family has a long tradition of serving in the Armed Forces.

Military charity SSAFA honour families who have served in Britain for generations on Armed Forces Day SSAFA
Service: Kirsty Bushell CBE served in the RAF, following in the footsteps of her grandfather.

A charity is honouring families who have served Britain for generations on this year’s Armed Forces Day.

The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA) will recognise volunteers, staff, and their families on Saturday to mark the occasion.

One of those set to be honoured is Kirsty Bushell CBE, the national vice chair of SSAFA, and a former RAF wing commander.

Born in Kilmarnock, Bushell spent 24 years in the RAF and has supported SSAFA for more than three decades. 

While the military, particularly the RAF, runs through her veins, she points out that it skipped a generation.

She had a maternal cousin shot down, initially hidden by the French Resistance, but captured before he could make a home run and was incarcerated at Buchenwald.

Her grandfather John Brown Collins also served in the RAF, while her other grandfather performed the vital role of maintaining the giant Short Sunderland flying boats operating out of the west of Scotland on anti-U boat patrols

Ms Bushell said that although “aviation was the theme”, her son is instead looking to a career in the army.

She added: “The importance of family life within the armed forces is the camaraderie, teamwork, friendships, depth of shared experience.”

She reflected on the importance of the SSAFA charity – particularly the “families” element – and on armed forces day, saying: “SSAFA almost uniquely looks after the families of those who serve and the whole community. 

“That’s what makes us so inclusive, relevant and at the heart of serving and veterans support while armed forces day is a great opportunity to engage with the public on a more celebratory note, recognising the work of not only veterans, but also the serving community.”