A Pewsey charity that aims to boost the morale of British troops all over the world has picked up a top award.

British Forces Foundation director Mark Cann, who lives in Patney, near Devizes, collected the Charity Principal of the Year accolade at the Charity Times Awards staged at The Royal Lancaster Hotel.

Mr Cann, who served as an Army officer until 1999, said he had no idea he had been put forward for the award and was surprised when he was called up to receive it.

Speaking about the BFF, the award judges said: “They have shown great leadership in presenting effectively to the public the message of being proud of the work of our troops in the face of an unpopular war in Iraq.”

Mr Cann, 42, and his wife Emma have a daughter Emily, six, and twin boys, Frederick and Barnaby, four.

He joined The BFF, founded by comedian Jim Davidson, in 2001 and has overseen a tremendous growth in the work of the charity, which celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2009.

He specialises in putting on large shows, many of which have been televised including the BBC1 2002 Falklands Bound and BBC1 2003 Basra Bound, ITV1 Katherine Jenkins in Basra on Christmas Eve 2005, 2006 James Blunt in Kosovo and 2006 ITV1 Philip Schofield’s Night Before Christmas.

Mr Cann said: “I have been out to Iraq and Afghanistan with the shows several times and the reaction from the troops is amazing.”

He said he has joined tours by Jim Davidson and singer Katherine Jenkins. On one tour they pertformed two shows on the same day an hour’s ride apart in an Army helicopter, performing to 350 soldiers at one camp and 1,000 at the second. “It was bloody hot but we had a fantastic reception.”

Mr Cann said the BFF was all about boosting the morale of troops and, through the shows it organised, taking their minds off their duties for a while.

The BFF offices were originally in London but Mr Cann said they decided to move to Wiltshire.

“We wanted to be closer to a military community,” he said adding that Pewsey was ideally placed for close contact with Salisbury Plain.

Katherine Jenkins was so impressed with the work of the BFF that she has joined its board of trustees.

n On the opening night of the new James Bond film, Quantum of Solace, on October 31, the BFF is taking over the Palace Cinema, in Devizes, for a fundraising black-tie evening.

For more details and to book tickets ring (01672) 564911 or e-mail sally@bff.org.uk