Andrew Turner, the Island’s MP, recently met Elaine Duggan, the Regional Organiser for the Isle of Wight Branch of the War Widows’ Association. They discussed ways that the Island could best support the families of servicemen and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
The War Widows’ Association started when, in 1971, a Sunday newspaper highlighted the plight of Britain’s forgotten women. Mrs Laura Connelly had returned to the UK from Australia to find herself facing bankruptcy proceedings by the Inland Revenue. Her crime was that she refused to pay tax on her war widow’s pension because it had not been taxed in Australia. The War Widows’ Association was constituted in 1972 with one aim: to make the war widow’s pension tax free. The Association achieved a 50% tax reduction in 1976 and success when the pension became fully tax free in 1979.
Mrs Duggan, a recipient of the Elizabeth Cross, assumed responsibility for the Isle of Wight Branch when Sheila Greely retired earlier this year. Mrs Duggan’s husband, Richard, died five years ago from injuries sustained while serving with the Royal Green Jackets in Northern Ireland in the early 1980s.
Mr Turner said: “The men and women who serve our country in the Armed Forces are modern day heroes. When a serviceman or woman makes the ultimate sacrifice, we must do all that we can to support those left behind. I fully support the War Widows’ Association and the numerous organisations that make it their goal to look after service families. If you, or someone you know, lost your husband or wife in the service of their country, I would strongly encourage you to get in touch with Elaine, either through my office or by calling her direct on 566497.”