MORE than two million military veterans are missing out on discounts that could save them thousands of pounds.
The Defence Discount Service gives former and serving Forces personnel savings at nearly 12,000 businesses. But nine out of ten of Britain’s 2.5million veterans don’t know about it.
George Rogerson was in the 1st Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment in Belfast in 1967[/caption]
So The Sun has teamed up with the Ministry of Defence-backed initiative as part of our vital Never Forget Them campaign.
We want all veterans to get a better deal when shopping or paying for services — including meals out, travel and even holidays — not just the 220,000 who have signed up.
And we are calling on more businesses — of any size — to swell the ranks of the 11,700 firms offering money off.
It comes after The Sun this week demanded our next Prime Minister back our three-part Veterans’ Pledge:
- To create an office of veterans’ affairs within the Cabinet Office, with a Cabinet-level minister, to ensure world-class care and support for former Armed Forces personnel.
- To enshrine the Military Covenant into law, so no veteran or their family ever face disadvantage because of their service for this country.
- New legislation to end vexatious investigations into historical allegations against our troops — including in N Ireland — to be passed before the next General Election.
Julia Cooper, 55, landlady of The Don bar, a hub for many veterans, in Stockton-on-Tees, Co Durham, said: “I can’t thank The Sun enough for standing up for former servicemen and women.
“Many of the men who come here served in Northern Ireland and they live in fear of being arrested and charged for serving their country.”
Key to the Defence Discount Service scheme is the Defence Privilege Card, which veterans can use in stores and at businesses large and small and get up to a third off. Discounts can be found online and via an app.
George Rogerson, 68, who served seven years in the Gloucestershire Regiment, including three tours in Northern Ireland, hailed the scheme as “a recognition of service to the country”.
‘I DON’T REGARD IT AS CHARITY’
The former Lance Corporal, who was mentioned in dispatches after saving the life of his wounded commander under sniper fire in Belfast, has used the discount card since 2012.
George, from Chirk, Clwyd, said: “Veterans like me did our bit for your country and I use my card virtually every week and save money. I don’t regard it as charity.
When I show my card and get discount, it’s like a recognition of my service to the country and a ‘thank you’. I’ve lost count of the hundreds of pounds I have saved over the years.”
Another veteran saved £150 on his phone alone from EE. Yet virtually none of the veterans The Sun spoke to yesterday in The Don had heard of the scheme.
Among them was Pete Gaines, 73, of Sedgefield, who served 12 years with the Royal Artillery. Pete, who has not worked since a heart attack at 47, vowed: “I am going to sign up and save myself money.”
EX-MILITARY? HOW TO JOIN UP FOR IT
IF you are a veteran and want to join the Defence Discount Service visit the website defencediscountservice.co.uk then click register.
Or visit Google Play or the Apple App Store and download the Defence Discount Service app.
The app allows members to search for discounts in their local area as well as browse discounts on the move.
It is FREE to join but if you want the Defence Privilege card, which you can carry in your wallet, there is an admin fee of £4.99, which lasts for five years.
Landlady Julie Cooper at the Don Bar in Stockton-on-Tees[/caption]
George Rogerson pictured in Belfast in 1971[/caption]
Tony Walls, 58, from Thornaby on Tees, was another in The Don keen to join in.
An ex Corporal who served 13 years with the Pioneer Corps, leaving in 1992, he thought the scheme was only for those still serving.
He said: “I had heard of this scheme but I didn’t think it was for me. I am certainly going to check it out.”
The scheme means veterans and serving Armed Forces can enjoy discounts ranging from ten per cent off to, in some cases, 30 per cent discount on thousands of everyday items.
It is not just giants such as Starbucks, National Express, Jet2 holidays, Enterprise Rent A Car, Halfords and KFC that take part. Thousands of small businesses are also on the list of 11,700 firms — such as bridal shop Willoughby & Wolf, in Marlborough, Wilts.
Victoria and Spencer Wolf only opened the shop last September but signed up to the DDS scheme because former Warrant Officer Spencer, 50, served 23 years in the Royal Signals.
Victoria, 47, said: “We benefitted from the scheme with discounts on things like cinema tickets and when we became business owners we wanted to pass that benefit on to other veterans.”
Already they have given discounts totalling around £700 to serving soldiers or former servicemen and women.
Pub regular Tony Walls thought the scheme was only for those still serving in the military[/caption]
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Victoria added: “The first thing I ask our brides-to-be is do they have a brother, husband, father or close relative who has served or is serving? I point them in the right direction. Spencer spent over 20 years serving this country. Being able to pass on some benefit is really important to us.”
The Sun is urging more companies to sign up. And the message is already getting through.
Last night food giant Iceland confirmed it is considering giving discounts to veterans.
And Cadbury World in Birmingham said it offers a 30 per cent discount for the military, who can bring up to six people with them on a booking. They just need a form of military ID or be a member of the Defence Discount Service.
A BUSINESS? HOW TO GIVE DISCOUNTS
IF you run a company or small business and want to offer discounts, send your names and details of your business to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will pass them to the Defence Discount Service so your firm can help those who served and boost your business by gaining loyal new customers.
The more companies that get involved the more we can help our veterans.
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