Royal Navy Veteran and Sea Cadet Leader
What’s your Armed Forces background?
I joined the Royal Navy at the age of 15 aboard the HMS Ganges and served for 26 years. My last role in the Navy was as a Chief Petty Officer onboard the Royal Yacht Britannia. I am proud to have completed the Royal Navy Officer of the Watch, and held an Ocean Navigation Qualification (one of only a hand full of senior rates to achieve this within the Royal Navy).
I was extremely proud to have received the Royal Victorian Order for my personal services to the Queen and other members of the Royal Family in the New Year’s Honours 1988. One of my highlights of retirement was to be asked to “set to work” on Britannia boats after nearly 15 years of being laid up ready for the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations on the Thames in 2012. So with other members of the Royal Yacht Crew we set to work bringing all the boats including the Royal Barge up to modern safety requirements, and selecting the crews to man the boats, which was no easy task as we are all getting older. Crew training was carried out in Edinburgh; during this time I was working for SCAS and the Trust allowed me to attend Edinburgh to complete this task. I was the lead coordinator for the event and Queen’s Coxswain (you can see me clearly driving the Royal Barge at the very start of the celebrations).
I am also a Sea Cadet Leader in Abingdon. The Sea Cadets have 480 units all over the UK and abroad; these are attended by 14,000 young people aged between 10-18. All of us within the cadets do this on a voluntary basis, often at evenings and weekends. I really enjoy helping people experience the love of the sea and supporting them in learning life skills to prepare them for the future.
What interested you about joining the ambulance service?
I was a first aider within my time in the Royal Navy and found that I was really interested in utilising these skills. When we toured the world I was the first aider for the vessel. After leaving the Navy I joined SCAS as an ambulance care assistant (ACA) and was fortunate to progress on to the frontline service as an ambulance technician. I was selected to become a paramedic and commenced my training but part way through I made a hard decision to go back out to sea – cut me in half, you’ll see that there is salt water running through my body!
What transferable skills gained in the Armed Forces do you utilise in your role with SCAS?
The shifts, discipline, time keeping and team work skills you learn in the Armed Services stand you in good stead for working at SCAS. I am good at talking to people of all ages and backgrounds and handling stressful circumstances; having worked in the public eye for many I can easily adapt to different situations. I feel that my skills used within the cadets support this; we spend many evenings and weekends undertaking lots of activities that I lead on, such as leadership, life skills, navigation training and boat work.
What do you enjoy most about working for SCAS?
Like anyone else, we have good days and tough days at work. But unlike many roles, the job has lots of variety; not many people can genuinely say as I do that each day is completely different. The teams here at SCAS are really friendly too.
What advice would you give someone thinking about leaving the Armed Forces who may be interested in working for SCAS?
Find out about us, come out on an observation shift (whilst you are still in service) and see if you enjoy the experience – if you do, give it a go.