Successful Fundraising Launch on board HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH

A Successful Fundraising Launch of A Driving Force for SSAFA 2024 held on board the Royal Navy’s flagship HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH, Portsmouth Naval Base

A Driving Force for SSAFA is a biennial charity event, raising funds for SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity.  It involves one hundred people, in fifty vehicles, including participants and support vehicles, on an exhilarating 10-day driving adventure across France, Spain and Gibraltar from 30 July to 8 August 2024, hoping to raise £120,000for SSAFA.

Two ex-serving members of HM Forces Benn Laidler MBE and Steve Shaw MA, FCILT, CMCIPD, Directors of A Driving Force, witnessed first-hand the hardship and devastation suffered by casualties of military conflict. They realised that these courageous men, women, and their families needed support to cope with the aftermath of such traumatic life changing injuries or loss. Since 2012, they have been fundraising through charity driving events, which have taken place across the UK and mainland Europe raising over three quarters of a million pounds for many charities supporting military personnel. The 2022 event managed to raise a staggering £173,000. 

Partnering with SSAFA once again for the event in 2024, A Driving Force who are accredited Professional Fundraisers with The Fundraising Regulator, have pledged to raise a further £120,000 to support military personnel and their families.

The official Fundraising Launch of A Driving Force for SSAFA 2024 took place on Saturday 10 June 2023, firstly at HMS EXCELLENT, after which invited guests moved to the Nation’s flagship HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH, where an official ribbon was cut by Rear Admiral Paul Beattie, Director of Naval Staff and David Rowe, Honorary Treasurer and Trustee of SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity to launch the 2024 campaign. 

There were just over 100 personnel attending the launch, including past and present participants of the charity events and their supporters. The weather was glorious, and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the day and the experience of being on board HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH.

Over the years since 2012, Steve and Benn have been extremely fortunate to attract the support of all three of the Armed Services at various times for the launch of the charity events. In 2018, the event was launched from Horse Guards Parade, and went down the Mall three cars abreast compliments of the Army, and the last event in 2022, was supported by the RAF at the Farnborough International Air show, after a covid-induced delay to the 2020 event. 

The Royal Navy last hosted the launch event in 2016, and the team are very honoured to once again being given access to both HMS Excellent and HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH.

This video gives you an idea of what the charity event is all about .  

Steven Shaw MA, FCILT, CMCIPD, Director and Founder of A Driving Force for SSAFA said, 

We are all aware that combat operations have now ceased, but we are dealing with the aftermath of 20 years of operations in the Middle East, where more than 150,000 UK military personnel were routinely deployed. As we conduct this event, we pay tribute to the hundreds of people who made the ultimate sacrifice on operations. Just as importantly our fundraising is aimed at sustaining people and their families who suffered life changing injuries.”

“We would like to thank Rear Admiral Paul Beattie, Commodore John Voyce OBE, Captain Ian Feasey, and Commander Simon Gale OBE for their support to the launch campaign.” 

More Information

Since 1885, SSAFA has shown commitment to ensuring that our service men and women, veterans and their families get the best possible support when they need it. When anyone in in the Forces family finds themselves in need, SSAFA is the charity they can turn to. Whether it’s financial, practical, or emotional, it provides the right kind of support, ensuring independence and dignity is protected at all times. Partnerships such as that with A Driving Force for SSAFA are fundamental in helping SSAFA help the Armed Forces. 

Who SSAFA Help

Today nearly five million people living in the United Kingdom are estimated to have served in the Armed Forces at some point in their lives and every year, around 20,000 servicemen and women leave the services and return to civilian life.

  1. In 2021, SSAFA’s trained teams of volunteers and employees helped more than 66,000 people, from Second World War veterans to those who have served in more recent conflicts, or currently serving (both regulars and reserves), and their families. 
  2. They have more than 4,000 volunteers working tirelessly to help the Armed Forces family.

Jonathan Sandall, Director of Fundraising for SSAFA, says:

“Over the last decade, Steve and Benn have raised a phenomenal amount of money for SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity through their charity driving events, whilst also remembering the brave servicemen and servicewomen who made the ultimate sacrifice whilst on operations in the Middle East.  We are thrilled to be working with the team on A Driving Force for SSAFA 2024.   

If you have a passion for cars and driving, then join A Driving Force for SSAFA on its next iconic journey and spend ten thrilling days travelling around some of the most breath-taking and spectacular roads in Europe in aid of our Armed Forces in their time of need.”

Entrants of A Driving Force for SSAFA 2024 will once again, come from all walks of life, coalesce around a common goal; to help others whilst having the adventure of a lifetime.  Each entrant covers their own costs per car, and they must raise £1,500 towards the target for SSAFA. We offer our entrants the unique opportunity to attend up to thirty events across the year, where they fund raise with their cars, in either a static capacity or via organised driving events, where the public are offered a passenger ride in our sponsored vehicles, in exchange for a donation to SSAFA. Attendance at all our events is voluntary, and the entrants absorb all personal costs in the pursuit towards our £120,000 target, such is the altruism that our event generates and promotes. 

Why not get involved.

  1. Join a fabulous group of people raising money for charity.
  2. Join us for the adventure of a lifetime.
  3. Join us for the shared benefits of partnership.

 For more information, visit the website:  or contact:

General Enquiries:


Tel: 07823 331011 


Benn Laidler MBE

Tel: 07787 115544 


PR, Marketing & Corporate Sponsorship:

Andrea Ince: 

Tel: 07971 000519 


Steve and Benn are available for interview, to arrange please call Andrea Ince on Tel: 07971 000519.