“They Have Served Their Country …….Now Let Them Serve The Community”

April began with the introduction of our minibus ‘Tommy’, to Forward Assist patron, Dave Anderson MP (Blaydon constituency).

I am delighted with the awarding of the funds to gain access to a minibus that will widen the scope of activities that the veter-ans can get involved in…. Above all else I’ve seen how important it is to the success of the project to keep busy and the minibus is a great tool in that job.”

Ryan Murphy, the first of our veterans to gain employ-ment with Starbucks through our Mission Employable programme, showed his gratitude to Forward Assist by raising money with a tandem skydive from 15,000ft. Colin Hutchinson and Neil Tully were at Peterlee Parachute Centre to show their support and make sure Ryan didn’t have second thoughts! Ryan raised a grand total of £373 which will go towards sup-porting other veterans. Forward Assist would like to thank Ryan for his great efforts and exhilarating performance. 

Huge thank you to Doosan Babcock for providing the seeds and labour to prepare our allotments at Seaton Delaval Hall. A great effort from everyone there and we look for-ward to a bumper harvest later this year! All the produce grown will be used in our Cook2Give project, providing healthy home-cooked food for veterans of all ages. 

Longhorns Barbeque Smokehouse in Jesmond hosted a cowboy-themed fundraiser in aid of Forward Assist. Our volunteer fundraising team organised a raffle and tombola and tickets were sold for the event. A fantastic night was had by all and the grand total of £805 was raised. Well done and thank you to everyone who contributed. 

Neil Tully arranged a day trip to the National Memorial Arboretum for a group of veter-ans including star volunteer Julie Denton. The weather was particularly good while the group went their separate ways to pay their own respects at their regimental memori-als. Neil located Private William Nelson’s post on the Shot at Dawn memorial. Pte. Nelson’s execution (charged with cowardice and ‘shot at dawn’ 11 August 1916) was the topic of debate in 2014 (see Bulletin Issue 1, January 2015). An absolute fabulous and humbling day was enjoyed. “A great day out with lots of memories” (B. Thorn RE) “Great day, thanks Forward Assist. Awesome.” (A. Owens RA). 

Forward Assist would like to congratulate Phil Logan on his selection to compete in the in the archery at the Invictus Games 2016 in Orlando next month. We’re right behind you! 

Sarah also took a group of veterans to Rochdale for first aid training with Alternate Forces. The training was led by Al Shingler who prefers the more practical approach rather than the classroom. All veterans successfully completed the course and are now fully trained QCF Level 3 First Aiders. Well done! 

Our CEO, Tony Wright, completed the Coast and Castles cycle from Edinburgh Castle to Tynemouth Priory and Castles along the way with a team from Starbucks. The cycle forms part of the training schedule for the fundraising London2Paris in September. The gruelling 146 miles was completed in two days with an overnight stay on Holy Is-land. Great effort by the cyclists who were well supported by ‘Tommy’ the minibus and star driver, Marie Bowman. 

The Female Veterans Group and Dr Helen Limon of Newcastle University travelled to Holland to visit the Dutch Veterans Institute to compare the support available to Dutch veterans with our own. Dutch veteran support is funded by the Dutch government and their parameters for a veteran differ greatly. “Any (former) soldier with the Dutch nationality who served the Kingdom of the Netherlands under war-time or similar conditions, including peacekeeping operations within or without UN command.” A very interesting con-trast to our own.