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Support For Our Armed Forces Community

Written by on 4th October 2021

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Armed Forces Veterans Service is there to offer help and support to those who need it. It also helps bring people together, establish new friendships and help grow the Armed Forces community.

Margaret Williams, aged 95, of Rhydyfelin, is one of the oldest veterans who enjoys meeting up with like-minded people during the regular Armed Forces Breakfast Club at Rhydyfelin Community Centre.

Having met her husband Kenneth when they both left military service in 1947, the couple went on to make their home in the County Borough, raising their two children and continuing to support the Armed Forces.

Margaret Williams said: “I cannot speak highly enough about the Council’s Armed Forces Veteran Service. They are a wonderful support to all of us veterans of all ages. They do a fantastic job.

“There is nothing quite like the camaraderie, the friendship and the closeness of the Armed Forces Community. It is good to know that it is thriving in Rhondda Cynon Taf.”

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council Deputy Leader and Armed Forces Champion, Councillor Maureen Webber, said: “We owe our Armed Forces community so much, people like Margaret and Ken Williams, who served their country in such difficult times and circumstances.

“Our Armed Forces Veterans Service is there for anyone associated with our Armed Forces, past and present. It is there to offer support and guidance to anyone who might need it at any time in their lives.”

Born in Caerphilly in 1926 during the General Strike, Margaret’s family suffered severe hardship. They moved to Nantgarw when she was three-years-old and Margaret has lived in the County Borough ever since.

She joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service in 1944, the women’s branch of the British Army during the Second World War. Formed in 1938, Margaret served with the ATS for four years, until 1947.

She met Ken in December the same year and the pair were married two years later at Pontypridd Registry Office.

Margaret recalls those early years of her life with great fondness and nostalgia, often reflecting back to those times of great hardship.

She added: “Both my husband and I were proud to have served during the Second World War, but we did not know each other at the time. We met in 1947 when we demobbed and were married in 1949 – at the time we had nothing. They were such hard times to live in.

Mr Williams served with the Army in Palestine and the Middle East. He sadly passed away in 2010 after 61 years of marriage.

In civilian life, Mrs Williams went on to work at the Helliwells factory in Aberdare, Bounds Garage in Treforest and Fram Filters in Llantrisant before retiring.

Mrs Williams, who has two daughters, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, enjoys meeting up with other veterans at the Armed Forces Breakfast Club in Rhydyfelin, which is supported by the Council’s Armed Forces Veterans Service.

The Armed Forces Veterans Service not only offers confidential support and guidance to veterans living in the County Borough, but also to their families.

Combat Stress – 0800 138 1619

Help For Heroes – 0300 303 9888

SSAFA – 0800 260 6767

The Council’s Armed Forces Veterans Service offers a wide range of assistance on subjects such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Housing, Adult Social Care, Benefits, Finances and Employment.

Providing FREE, impartial and dedicated information, advice and support, members of the Armed Forces, past and present, can speak to dedicated officers in strict confidence. Call 07747 485 619 or by email: VeteranService@rctcbc.gov.uk

The Taff Ely Veterans Group meets at Rhydyfelin Community Centre every second Wednesday each month and veterans of all ages are welcome to attend the Armed Forces Breakfast Club. No booking is required. For more information, message the Taff Ely Veterans Group on Facebook or call 0774 748 5619.