It was during the dark days of the Second World War that a charity was established to help in cases of hardship among the thousands of volunteers enlisting in the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS).
With Wrens serving their country with distinction at home and abroad – and in some cases losing their lives to enemy action – it was clear that a charity would be needed to support the women both during wartime and into the future.
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Typical requests for assistance were from those with homes damaged by fire, billeting fees for evacuated children, medical expenses and unpaid leave to care for sick relatives and younger siblings. Immediately after the War the Trusts main work was to help secure employment for many hundreds of former Wrens.
In 1942 The Women’s Royal Naval Service Benevolent Trust (WRNS BT) was formed and has been helping former Wrens ever since.
Milford on Sea resident and Former Wren Liz Brown, joined the WRNS in March 1977 as a Wren TSA(Training Support Assistant), she left the full time service in September 1992 as a Petty Officer Wren ETS (Education and Training Support) and then served in the Royal Naval Reserve until 1994. After careers in both the IT industry and the NHS, Liz retired last year and returned to her hobby of cycling.
Inspired by the events that took place during 2017 to celebrate the Centenary of the formation of the WRNS (WRNS 100). She has decided that 2018 will be her “Challenge Year” and intends to cycle 150 miles in one day, which is her “Longest Ride” (40 miles longer than her previous best), starting and finishing in Milford-on-Sea with a looped circuit around the New Forest. The ride will take place on the Longest Day, weather permitting. Liz hopes the local community will turn out to encourage her on the day.
She is raising money for the WRNS BT and would like your support. You can donate by bank transfer to the WRNS BT: Sort Code 560064 83836594. Please quote your name as the reference for the payment. Or you can donate by post to the address below and please indicate if you are able to Gift Aid your donation.
Over the past 76 years the WRNS BT has helped more that 12,300 former Wrens in the UK and abroad. Last year it helped support more than 250 women, and distributed a total of £300,000 in annual and one off grants.
“We are here to help former Wrens of all ages,” says Sarah Ayton, the Trust’s General Secretary. “Some of our beneficiaries served during the war, but we also help ladies in their forties and lots in between.”
143,000 women served in the WRNS between 1939 and 1993 and there are currently 40,000 former Wrens still alive today. All are members, irrespective of their age or position,” says Mrs Ayton. “We are often able to help supplement a former Wren’s weekly income with a small annuity and are sometimes able to assist their families with care and funeral costs.”
To find out more about this event please contact:
Liz Brown: W132756L@gmail.com - Tel; 07703 803914
Sarah Ayton, WRNS BT: firstname.lastname@example.org - Tel: 02392 655301
Address: Castaway House, 311 Twyford Avenue, Portsmouth, PO2 8RN.