Media Release: Give the troops a break – Cottages & Castles honour ten years in Afghanistan

ONE of Scotland’s largest specialist self-catering holiday companies, Cottages and Castles, has partnered with DecAid, the national appeal to honour ten years in Afghanistan, by offering ten complimentary holidays to members of the Armed Forces.

The scheme will give ten forces families the chance to win free holidays in some of Scotland’s most beautiful locations.

These have been donated by private holiday owners to provide a break for members of the forces who collectively have shown a decade of commitment to the war in Afghanistan.

As part of the support, Cottages & Castles has donated £1,000 towards the running costs of the holidays as well as providing a £500 holiday voucher towards DecAid’s complementary raffle.

Rupert Laing, one of the founders of the DecAid appeal, said: “This is a way of DecAid, Cottages and Castles and all of the home owners involved to say “thank you” after ten years in Afghanistan. Whether or not people support military action, supporting our brave soldiers, sailors and airmen themselves is so important.”

Sue Bourne, manager of Cottages & Castles, said: “When I heard of the impressive work being undertaken by DecAid I was more than delighted to get involved and support the hard work of our armed forces.

“Some of the properties being offered are truly spectacular and it is extremely generous of those owners who’ve signed up to offer a free week at their properties. By offering ten complimentary holidays we’re giving a little back to those who endure so much.”

Ms Anne Fedele, property owner, said: “At the Steadings, Auchteralyth, we are delighted to provide complimentary self-catering accommodation in one of our five star cottages. It is actually an honour to host members of the armed force and to be able to provide them with a little peace and serenity. Thank you to DecAid and Cottages and Castles for giving us this opportunity.”

Forces charity, Tickets For Troops will run the scheme on behalf of DecAid. Anyone registered with them will be eligible to enter the ballot for a free holiday. More information about all of the holidays and how to enter is available at

The winners will be announced in Edinburgh on Sunday 26th June at the launch of DecAid’s main events. The day, held as part of the National Celebration of the Armed Forces will involve a parade of massed pipes and drums down the Royal Mile followed by a fair in Holyrood Park.

‘Give the Troops A Break’ is among several initiatives through which DecAid seeks to help current and ex-servicemen and women, and their families, who have been affected by the war in Afghanistan. DecAid aims to raise £350,000 by the tenth anniversary of the Afghan conflict in October 2011 for three Service charities: SSAFA Forces Help, BLESMA and Talking 2 Minds.


For more information on Cottages & Castles please contact Lorna Gardner of Media House on 0141 220 6040, email: or visit

Alternatively for further information on DecAid please contact Rupert Laing of DecAid on 07709 430 127.

Notes to editors:

DecAid events throughout 2011 include:

* The opening ceremony, a spectacular ‘Massed Pipes and Drums’ event, on 26th June 2011, which will see 2,011 musicians leave Edinburgh Castle at 11.45am and march along the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, in conjunction with the Armed Forces Day events.

* The team are also looking for any other youth organisations who would like to be part of the parade. Anybody who would like to find out more should visit

* ‘The Munro Mission’: a small team will be climbing all 283 Munros (mountains in Scotland over 3,000ft) in just 49 days without the use of any motorised transport. They will start on 1st August and finish the challenge on Sunday 18th September.

* ‘The Ride 2 Remember’: static bike race from London to Kabul on 24th and 25th September 2011

* ‘The Big Tow’: vehicles will be towed around Rockingham race track in a tri-service competition on 18th September 2011.

* ‘Stretched to the Limit’: On 14th August 2011 30 teams will attempt the arduous trek up Snowdon, the highest mountain in England and Wales, carrying a heavy stretcher.

* The DecAid events will culminate in October 2011 with a ‘Light for Life’ ceremony in Salisbury Cathedral, which will mark the 10th Anniversary of the War in Afghanistan.


The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families’ Association (SSAFA) Forces Help is the leading national charity committed to helping and supporting those who serve in our Armed Forces, those who used to serve, and the families of both. We provide a reliable, caring and trusted service to more than 50,000 people each year. Our professionally trained staff and network of 7,000 volunteers provide practical and financial assistance, emotional support and a wide range of services to ensure that SSAFA Forces Help makes a real difference whenever anybody turns to us for help.


The British Limbless Ex-Servicemen Association (BLESMA) is the charity that directly supports all our service men and women who lose limbs, the use of limbs or eyes or the sight of an eye in the service of our country and we are with them all whenever we are needed for the rest of their lives. Our work starts with rehabilitation – proving that there is life after amputation.

About Talking2Minds

Talking2Minds is the leading charity in the effective coaching and therapeutic treatment of PTSD amongst other stress related disorders. We specialise in helping those that are long term sufferers and those for which other therapies have not worked. We use a unique programme, Synergy, that utilizes a results focussed and extremely effective therapy called Spectrum Therapy™. Talking2Minds is run by veterans in order to help veterans back to health as quickly as possible.

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