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The Lord Mayor of Plymouth, Cllr David James, and veterans from St Austell, Plymouth, Ashcombe and Torquay were today presented with their HM Armed Forces Veterans Badges by The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence and Minister for Veterans, Derek Twigg MP.

The presentation took place onboard the Frigate HMS Portland at Devonport Naval Base and was assisted by the Deputy Lieutenant of Devon, Lt Col Tim Courtenay OBE DL, in the presence of over 30 representatives from local ex-Service organisations.

The event launches a two-week campaign to raise awareness of support services provided for South West veterans by the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency under the Veterans-UK name.

Mr Twigg said:
“Veterans are very important people to whom we owe a lot. Therefore I am delighted to be launching this awareness campaign from Plymouth’s historic Naval Base. There are thousands of veterans in the Devon and Cornwall area and this campaign is about ensuring they are better informed about the services and support we provide for them. I would encourage anyone who has served in the Armed Forces to visit our mobile advice unit over the next two weeks or to call the Veterans-UK helpline on 0800 169 2277 to see exactly what help is available”.

Those receiving their badges from the Minister today were:

Lord Mayor of Plymouth, Cllr David James
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Lord Mayor of Plymouth, Cllr David James
Cllr James served in the Royal Air Force for 22 years from 1957 to 1979. He served at many stations both in the UK and abroad, including Aden, the Persian Gulf, France and spent three years serving at Changi Hospital in Singapore. He later became an NCO in charge of a hospital at RAF Mountbatton. During his time in the Services, Cllr James taught Tae Kwon Do and played rugby.

Cllr James said:
“It has been an honour to receive my veterans badge from the Minister today, but this campaign is about support for veterans across the region. People don’t realise that anyone who has served in the Armed Forces is a veteran, young or old, male or female. All deserve our support and I’m calling on any veterans who need advice to visit the mobile information unit or contact the Veterans-UK helpline”.

Mr Shaun Runham
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Mr Shaun Runham from Torquay. Mr Runham served in the Royal Navy from 1970 to 1995. He initially served on surface ships, visiting many locations worldwide, including Bahrain, Mombassa, the Far East, USA, Canada, Gibraltar and other Mediterranean ports. He later joined the submarine service, serving on HMS Superb during the Queens Jubilee celebrations and later on HMS Splendid during the 1982 Falklands conflict. Later in his career, he became an instructor at the 2nd Submarine Squadron training centre and at HMS Dolphin. Mr Runham is now Vice-Chairman and Social Secretary of the Royal Naval Association, Torbay branch.

Mr Runham said:
“I’m really proud to be receiving my badge from the Minister today. It’s been a great morning”.

Miss Lynne Pitt
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Miss Lynne Pitt from St Austell. Miss Pitt served in the Women’s Royal Air Force (WRAF) from 1974 to 1976. She initially served at the communications control centre at RAF Stanbridge before being transferred to RAF Uxbridge and 9 Signals Unit. Miss Pitt later married a RAF Serviceman and spent the next 13 years travelling with the RAF, spending long periods in Germany. Her family has a strong military background – her brother and father also served in the forces and both her sons are currently working as engineers in the RAF, one with the display team, The Red Arrows.

Miss Pitt said:
“the event shows the Forces network still works even after leaving the Services”.

Mr Barry Crossman
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Mr Barry Crossman from Plymouth. Mr Crossman served in the RAF for 22 years, seeing Service at bases across the UK. He served in the Falklands Islands and Ascension Island shortly after the conflict, supporting the radar installations there. During this time he clocked up some 50 hours onboard helicopters during a four month period.

Mr Crossman said:
“I’m really pleased to help raise awareness of the support provided for veterans. I’ll tell my ex-Service colleagues to get in touch”

Recipients also included four members of the ‘Brown’ family, from Ashcombe, Devon who between them have given 38 years Service for their country (from R-L Derek Twigg MP, Tom Brown, Julie Brown, Serena Brown and Andrew Litherland.)

The Brown Family with Derek Twigg MP
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Mr Tom Brown served in the Royal Engineers as a paratrooper from 1974 to1983. Mr Brown saw service in the UK, Norway and Germany. Tom is a veteran of the 1982 Falklands campaign, during which undertook minefield and route clearance work with his Unit from San Carlos water through to Stanley.

Mrs Julie Brown was born in Plymouth and served in the Women’s Royal Army Corp (WRAC) from 1974 to 1978. She saw Service in the UK, where she met Tom whilst serving at Aldershot. Mrs Brown later served in the Territorial Army (TA) from 1991 to 1999, serving with B Coy, Devon and Dorset Regt in Paignton. Mrs Brown receives her badge in the TA’s centenary year.

Mr and Mrs Brown’s daughter, Miss Serena Brown, served with the Royal Logistic Corp from 1999 to 2007. Miss Brown saw Service in the UK, Canada and Norway serving with 16 Air Assault Brigade. She saw one tour of Kosovo and three tours of Iraq.

Mr Andrew Litherland, Miss Brown’s partner, also served in the Royal Logistic Corp between 1998 and 2007. He saw Service in Germany for five years and undertook two tours of Iraq.
The family were accompanied by their five year-old grandson, Thomas (nephew of Serena and Andrew).

Accompanied by their 5 year old Grandson Thomas
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Speaking on behalf of the family, Mr Brown said:
“It’s nice to know that support is available when needed. I’m proud for the whole family”.

The awareness campaign will run until 18th March and includes feature newspaper advertisements in local press, distribution of postcards and leaflets to over 1,100 locations and a mobile advice unit at locations across the south west area. Veterans who would like advice can visit the following locations from 10am to 3pm:

Wed 5 March Place de Brest Plymouth
Tue11 March Lemon Quay Truro
Thurs 13 March Market Square(by Sports World) Exeter
Fri14 March Library Square Barnstaple
Mon17 March New Georges Street(By Waterstones) Plymouth



Notes to Editors:

1. Veterans-UK was launched in April 2007 to provide a focal point for accessing services for veterans from the many different sources of help available. The first services using the name are the Veterans-UK helpline, 0800 169 2277 and website – providing advice on issues such as disability pensions, benefits, housing, medals and much more. The Veterans Welfare service is also available to provide one to one advice, in the home if needed, including liaising with local authorities, finding local support groups or even just helping with completing application forms.

2. In addition to the campaign, a major conference called Reaching out to Veterans has been organised for Wednesday 2 April at The Council House, Plymouth. Up to 100 delegates are expected to attend to learn about support for veterans from the Ministry of Defence, other Government Departments and the voluntary sector. Welfare staff from the Veterans Welfare Service’s Newton Abbot office will also be present.

3. The Veterans Badge was launched in May 2004 for WWI and WWII veterans. Since then availability has been gradually extended badges are now available to all those who served at any time.

4. Veterans wishing to apply for a Veterans Badge should contact the Veterans-UK helpline on 0800 169 2277. Postal applications should be sent to Veterans Services, Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA), Norcross, Blackpool, FY5 3WP. Applicants should provide their name, address, date of birth, service number, period of service and theatres of service.

5. Information on the Veterans Badges, along with help and advice on any issue affecting veterans’ lives, can be obtained from the free Veterans-UK helpline 0800 169 2277 or website .

For Further Information
6. For further information, please contact David Johnson, Service Personnel and Veterans Agency press office, on 01253 333041, mobile 07717 882014.

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