The Royal Engineers Officers’ Widows Society exists to establish, maintain and administer a fund for the better support and maintenance of the spouses and dependants of Officers of the Corps of Royal Engineers.
The Society is an Unlimited Company for the purpose of administering the Annuity Fund. The Council of Management of the Society are also the Trustees of a separate Samaritan Fund, a Registered Charity No. 264432. This fund exists to provide help for those widows, widowers or orphans of deceased officers who are in need, hardship or distress.
The Registered Office for both funds is:
The Royal Engineers Officers’ Widows Society
Regimental Headquarters Royal Engineers
Kent ME4 4UG
Click here for our Council Members and other key enablers.
The lump sum cash payment is made as soon as the Society is aware of a member’s death and is extremely useful for covering the financial needs of the family in the first weeks after the death. The annuity provides a valuable supplement to other sources of income throughout the lifetime of a spouse or, for children, during the important years up to 21.
Each family receiving benefits is discreetly watched and regularly approached to see if additional help is required. This can take the form of advice on almost any aspect including housing, schooling and investments and for cases of particular financial need, the Society will consider providing help from the Samaritan Fund.
The experience of the Council of Management is such that it can put its beneficiaries in touch with other charitable organisations and foundations which exist, but about which widows and widowers may know little or nothing. All of this help is offered discreetly and free of charge.
THE FUTURE OF THE SOCIETY WITHIN THE SAPPER FAMILY
The prudence and generosity of Sapper officers over the years has ensured that the Society exists today and is in a position to care for the spouses and children of their brother and sister officers. Most have continued their subscriptions after their families have grown up or their spouses have died and, in some cases, despite remaining unmarried throughout.
Importantly, membership is visible evidence to others in a dangerous profession that officers in the Corps have been responsible and made provision for their own families. In doing so members have reduced the likelihood of their dependants becoming a burden on their fellow officers.
There have been instances in recent conflicts where officers who were not members have died and their families are sadly not benefiting from the Society’s Annuity Fund as they might have done.
With a steady influx of new members the Society will continue to provide valuable support to all our families in the years ahead.
All Sapper Officers are encouraged to join the Society early in their service and to increase their units of membership to the maximum of ten as soon as they are able to do so.
THE REOWS SAMARITAN FUND
The Council of Management of the Society are also Trustees of a separate Samaritan Fund, a registered Charity (No. 264432). This fund, which has assets of around £500,000, exists to provide help for those widows, widowers or orphans of deceased officers who are in need, hardship or distress. Last year the Charity disbursed just under £55,000 supporting 17 widows. This year around £34,000 is expected to be provided in direct support to 16 widows.
Over the years the Fund has benefited from legacies as well as from donations from Members and Widows. It is this Sapper generosity which enables the Trustees to continue with this aspect of the Society’s very valuable charitable work.
The Charity works closely with the Grants and Welfare Team of the Officers’ Association (OA) and the Royal Engineers Association as well as other Service Charities such as SSAFA and the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League (RCEL). The Charity’s procedures for considering and disbursing support in encapsulated here.
If you would like to support the REOWS Samaritan Fund, one-off donations, regular monthly donations and fundraising campaigns can be set up via our Virgin Money Giving page.