‘Don’t buy us wedding gifts – give money to VA’

April 1, 2015

A Coldstream Guards musician and his new bride have donated money, given in lieu of wedding presents, to Veterans Aid.Darren and Lorna Hardy ( nee Cheetham) at The Guards Museum

Darren Hardy and his fiancée Lorna Cheetham (pictured right) decided that rather than accept gifts when they married, they would invite friends and relatives, who wished to, to give an equivalent sum to the charity. So far the amount has topped £700 and their Just Giving page (https://www.justgiving.com/Darren-Lorna-wedding/ ) is still open.

Darren, a proud Geordie who joined the Band of the Coldstream Guards in July 1996, said, “We felt incredibly proud to be able to give something to such an amazing charity.”

The military musician proposed to his long-term love in in the Rose Garden during a Buckingham Palace Garden Party; a romantic moment that he later discovered had been filmed during recording of the Alan Titchmarch programme ‘The Queen’s Garden’.

Thankfully Lorna said yes and the celebrity gardener, who was dressed for the occasion in top hat and tails, offered the couple his congratulations.

She said, “We have lived together for 12 years, have everything we need and really wanted to give something to people less fortunate than ourselves. Darren was introduced to the work of VA and we felt that our support would go a long way to helping people who have pledged their lives to their country but need help for whatever reason after leaving the military.

“Darren has been in the army for 19 years and met a number of people who have fought in recent conflicts. He’s seen first hand how difficult life can be for some of them after they leave the armed forces. The work VA does to enable people to get back on their feet is invaluable and to be able to support a relatively small and unknown charity and hopefully make a big difference is fantastic.” (Lorna was keen to add that some people did opt to give more traditional gifts which were much appreciated!)

CEO Veterans Aid Dr Hugh Milroy, Lorna Hardy ( nee Cheetham) and Coldstream Guards bandsman Darren Hardy at The Guards Museum.“I was just so incredibly impressed by what I learned,” said Darren who will be playing his flute at the concert – in his new rank of Colour Sergeant.

CEO of Veterans Aid Dr Hugh Milroy said, ”We have received donations from all kinds of individuals and organisations this year, but when a couple like Darren and Lorna forgo wedding gifts to support our work, it’s truly is humbling. I thank them from the bottom of my heart.

“The tickets will go to ex-servicemen and women who have been helped by the charity and the money put towards the on-going care and support of soldiers, sailors and airmen in crisis who seek our help.”

* Picture: CEO of Veterans Aid Dr Hugh Milroy accepts a cheque for £705 from Darren and Lorna at The Guards Museum.