Here is a summary of some of the charities and worthwhile causes that John has been or is involved with:
Afghan Faces – John published this book in 2010. All profits from the sale of the book – £35,000 so far – have been donated to charities that support members of the UK armed forces who are injured in Afghanistan, and to Sandy Gall’s Afghanistan Appeal.
Devon Air Ambulance – Organiser of two fundraising weekends at The Millbrook Inn (September 2007) and The Cricket Inn (November 2008), which each involved a great team of volunteers. The weekends raised £7,500 and just under £20,000 respectively for this life-saving charity.
Exercise Tiger Memorial – For almost ten years, from 2004 to August 2013, John was the chairman of a memorial to the tragic loss in 1944 of almost 1,000 American servicemen, who died off the coast of Devon during a D-Day practice landing known as Exercise Tiger.
Families for Children – Organiser of a special fundraising lunch in November 2010 prepared by Michael Caines MBE at what was then the two-Michelin-star Gidleigh Park. The guest speaker was the Falklands War survivor Simon Weston OBE, and the event raised just under £11,000.
Families for Children – Organiser of a fundraising evening with guest speaker Lord Julian Fellowes, the award-winning actor and writer of Downton Abbey. This event took place in November 2013 at what was then the two-Michelin-star Gidleigh Park, where guests enjoyed a gourmet dinner prepared by Michael Caines MBE. The event raised just under £23,000.
Greater London Fund for the Blind – Sir John Mills was the lifetime president of this charity. To mark the tenth anniversary of Sir John passing away, John organised a black-tie fundraising dinner at Cliveden House hotel near Taplow. The sell-out event, attended by many celebrities and hosted by Sir Michael Parkinson, raised £38,500.
Humanitarian relief, Sri Lanka tsunami 2005 – Through his company Securewest International, John sent four six-man teams of former Gurkha and Indian armed forces personnel to help in Sri Lanka and raised £52,000 to support them.
Health and Wellbeing Trust – Organiser of a fundraising and awareness lunch at the Bath Priory Hotel, Bath, in July 2011. The guest speaker was the Oscar-winning actor, and patron of the trust, Hayley Mills, and the event raised £11,959.
John Casson in Afghanistan – In 2008 John, at great personal risk to himself, went to Afghanistan to see for himself and report at first hand life in this war-torn country. He wrote a personal account of his experiences, took photographs and recorded video interviews; these were uploaded to a website that sponsors could access by donating money. This raised £16,000 for Sandy Gall’s Afghanistan Appeal, which helps both limbless victims of the Afghan conflict and Afghan children with health issues.
Sandy Gall’s Afghanistan Appeal – Trustee from 2011 until 2016, John had special responsibilities for fundraising. He organised a fundraising dinner at Cliveden House in October 2012 with guest speakers General Sir David Richards, Chief of the Defence Staff, and Sandy Gall, veteran journalist and presenter of ITN’s News at Ten. The event raised £36,000, of which a £6,000 donation was made to Sir David’s wife’s charity, the Afghan Appeal Fund.
Sir John Mills Rolls-Royce – The famous actor Sir John Mills was a close and very special friend of John and his wife Jenny. The Rolls-Royce was left as an inheritance to John in 2005 and is used to support charities and worthwhile causes.
St Mary’s School near Darjeeling, India – Between 2001 and 2016, John – initially through his company Securewest International, and then through the John Casson Foundation – was the primary sponsor of this school of 540 children, who receive a good education in what is a very poor part of the Indian Himalayas. Over the 15-year period, the school received almost £115,000.
The Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund – Organiser of the fundraising lunch An Audience with Sir Michael Parkinson in November 2011. The lunch was prepared by Michael Caines MBE at the two-Michelin-star Gidleigh Park, and the event raised just under £26,000.