Hello Everyone,

By now most of you will have seen the AA ad featuring the Dwarfers and I hope you like it. It was great fun to be back with the posse and we had a very enjoyable few days in the studio. For me personally, given that I am rather keen on old and occasionally unreliable cars, the AA is the perfect organisation to advertise, so here’s hoping our ‘partnership’ continues.

As I write this paragraph we are now one week into a spot of filming at that fine and ever growing collection of large sheds in the Iver Heath area. As usual it is good to be back with the posse and once again we are working with a fantastic crew. However, largely for reasons unconnected to the filming, I have decided to clear the decks work wise for the remainder of the year and ensure that I am focussed and energised to complete the task ahead. This unfortunately means that I will not now be attending the MCM show at the NEC on November 16th and 17th. The next events I will be attending will be in 2020 and I aim to start working out a schedule in the early weeks of the New Year.

Earlier this month I was invited to the Navy Wings Annual Dinner and it was a massive privilege to be asked to provide a voice over for a short film celebrating the story of the Sea Harrier, the last all British fighter aircraft, which entered service with the Fleet Air Arm forty years ago in 1979. The Navy Wings Charity is all about supporting the nation’s Naval aviation heritage and keeping the Navy Wings heritage collection flying. Transport and engineering heritage generally has always been close to my heart, so I am very thrilled to have been involved in this important project.

During the summer of ’17, I was asked by Major General Peter Gilchrist CB, then Chairman of Trustees at the Tank Museum to be an Ambassador for the Museum. Of course I accepted without hesitation. I spent some excellent days filming there for the ‘Massive’ and ‘Britain’s Greatest Machines’ series, unbelievably, some 10 years ago now and I very much look forward to continuing to promote the Museum. In Tankfest 2018 I was honoured to be given the opportunity to drive a Daimler Dingo armoured scout car in one of the vehicle parades and the mock battle – great fun!

As usual I must apologise for not responding to emails. Thank you so much to all of you who have taken the time to write to me with such positive sentiments. Suffice to say I am most grateful for your kind comments about all the shows and I will try my hardest to keep tabs on and eventually respond to Comic Con requests.

I have also received emails requesting my involvement in podcasts but frankly, I am not overly keen to participate. I do not have Twitter or Facebook accounts, so if you do see or hear of a Chris Barrie on either of the two, it definitely isn’t me. As I have said above, I struggle to keep up with the webmail, without wanting to further disappoint anyone on social media.

SSAFA (The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association) has been serving the armed forces community for more than 130 years, making it the oldest national tri service charity. Every year SSAFA staff and a team of volunteers help over 60,000 people whether they be WWII veterans or young men and women who have returned from Afghanistan. I recall my father being involved with SSAFA in the 70′s and early 80′s, so when it came to finding a charity to support, the choice was straightforward. In 2018, thanks to your generosity at conventions, the total raised for the charity was £3386.28. Once again, many thanks for your generosity.

A word on the welfare of our ex-service personnel as it currently stands. The number of these people who are now homeless runs into the thousands, PTSD and mental illness generally are on the rise and, most shockingly of all, suicides appear to be on the increase. This is almost unbelievable when you consider that the people I am talking about here are those who have been prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for this country. I am old enough to remember the days when soldiers, sailors, airmen and veterans were prioritised in Britain, a time when they commanded our utmost respect and a time when we were proud to celebrate our Armed Forces. We are now living in very different times, where, in some quarters, pride and respect for our Armed Forces is non-existent, a time when serving and ex-service personnel feel unsafe in their own country and a time when, it is not unreasonable to suggest, these fine people are a very long way from the top of the Government’s priority list. Indeed the appalling treatment of our veterans is nothing short of a national disgrace and that is why the role of SSAFA and other Charities has never been more important than it is today. And, the way things are going, this will be the case for the foreseeable future and beyond.

Best Wishes
Chris Barrie (November 2019)