Meet our Gibraltar veterans team

Our team of veterans will be working hard under the guidance of Pete Jackson, Trustee of the Gibraltar Heritage Trust.  Our Alabaré clients are joined by staff members taking part in the restoration.  We are thankful for the support of our Ambassadors who live in Gibraltar. 

Here is a bit more information about some of the team members taking part….

Royal Marines veteran Rob Gibson is one of the Alabaré team who will be supporting the veterans who have benefitted from Alabaré’s services. 

Rob says;

"We as an organisation are extremely excited about being involved in the Heritage Project. Not only is this an opportunity for some of the veterans in our homes and service to help restore part of our history in Gibraltar, but it is also an excellent way for the veterans to give something back, whilst at the same time, building their confidence and restoring their self-belief."

 

John is one of the veterans who will be taking part in the project.  He served in the Territorial Army for 7 years and went on to have a successful civilian career.  After an accident, John needed two knee operations which meant he could no longer work, and he ended up losing his home.  John was put in touch with Alabaré and has been living with us since last year. 

John says;

“I am really excited to be taking part in the project. Being selected has really boosted my confidence and I can’t wait to get stuck in.  I’m glad to be able to use my skills to give something back to the Armed Forces and the people of Gibraltar who have supported the UK military for so long.”

“I’m looking forward to working alongside other veterans, some of them I know will have been through similar things to me.  It’s really good for my wellbeing and will help me break down some of the barriers that build up in my mind.”

 

Karen served 12 years with R.E.M.E as an A Mech.  She says the majority of her postings were with Artillery Units and she mostly stationed in BAOR.

Karen says;

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for veterans to be able to actively get involved in the Heritage Project and come together in restoration, to enable the chance of expanding their own skill set and gaining new skills. This experience will allow a self of wellbeing, confidence and comradery.”

 

Kenny served in the Royal Navy for 15 years and was largely based around Scotland.  When he left the Forces Kenny managed a successful career in civvy street, whilst living as a functioning addict for eight years, reliant on both alcohol and drugs.  Overnight he decided to get clean and took himself to a friend’s house where he locked himself in his bedroom for six months and stopped drinking and using.  He subsequently contacted Shelter who put him in touch with Alabaré, and he moved into our Wiltshire Homes for Veterans.  Six months later Kenny was able to move on to greater independence and he still works closely with Alabaré, saying he wants to be able to give back for the fantastic support he received.

Kenny says;

“I went to Gibraltar many times during my Navy career but when we would get there and we run up the rock, and then go into a pub and effectively stay there for 5 days.  I’ve got fond feelings of Gibraltar and I’m looking forward to the trip as it will be a personal milestone to shows to myself that I can be in Gibraltar sober and without my past anxieties.” 

 

Lee served with The Rifles for 7 years until he was 30.  He decided to take voluntary redundancy at this time.  He had lost several friends and colleagues during a tour of Afghanistan, and took the opportunity of voluntary redundancy when it was offered.

After leaving the Army Lee worked as forklift driver and life was going well.  He moved to a new job which offered him a higher salary and more opportunities but when Covid hit Lee found himself made redundant once more as the business reduced in size.  Lee was living with his girlfriend but sadly their relationship ended and Lee found himself homeless.  He was drinking quite heavily to cope with his feelings at the time. Alabaré were able to offer him a home plus support to overcome the challenges he was facing with his alcohol consumption.  In early 2022, the Alabaré team talked to Lee about the chance for him to get involved in the new Self-Build scheme and Lee leapt at the opportunity. 

Lee is looking forward to the trip to Gibraltar and says that he’s relishing the chance to gain new skills and meet the other veterans taking part.

Lee says;

“I’m looking forward to the sun and the history.  I’ve read a lot about the history of the rock and of course all the links to the British military are very special.  I’m a bit of history geek so I’m excited to get out there and have a look around.  Being about to take part in the restoration means I’m going to be learning new skills which I’m really keen on and will give me new experiences to add to my cv for the future.” 

“I’m excited to meet the other veterans taking part and I am sure it will be good to get stuck into the job together.  When I get back I will be back working on the self-build project which is a fantastic opportunity that I am so pleased to be part of with Alabare.”

 

Richard is an Alabaré Ambassador with close ties to Gibraltar. Richard served in the Royal Navy for 60 years, retiring as a Commodore in March 2021.  His service included multiple appointments at sea, as well as shore appointments which included three years based in Gibraltar.

Richard is the Membership Secretary for the Friends of Gibraltar Heritage society who are supporting the restoration work at Lord Airey’s Battery, and he has been involved helping to set this programme up.  

Richard says;

“I think the veterans work at Lord Aireys Battery fulfils two very important aims.  It helps restore Gibraltar’s military heritage and provides excellent team building work to help veterans return to a fulling life. It is a complex activity being handled so well by the Alabaré team. I am proud to be part of it.”

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