Portsmouth army veteran Gary Weaving who founded Forgotten Veterans UK charity receives award from Hampshire police and crime commissioner Donna Jones

AN ARMED forces veteran says the hard work is only just beginning after receiving an award.

Monday, 16th May 2022, 12:07 pm

At the recent police and crime commissioner awards, Gary Weaving - founder and CEO of Forgotten Veterans UK - was presented with the award for community volunteer of the year.

Gary and his team of volunteers do plenty of work with Hampshire Constabulary, including supporting veterans in court, working with probation officers and going to police stations to help veterans who are giving interviews.

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From left, deputy police and crime commissioner Terry Norton, founder of Forgotten Veterans UK Gary Weaving, and police and crime commissioner Donna Jones. Picture: David George

Hampshire police and crime commissioner Donna Jones said: 'After many years, often using his own money as funding, Forgotten Veterans UK has grown considerably to be a well-respected charity that helps many people - 4,000 people passed through their doors last year.

't has relied totally on volunteers, with Gary doing much of the work himself.

'It has now reached the stage where they really need some paid support staff to relieve the pressure on Gary and his volunteers, so they can continue to grow and continue to deliver the services that are so vital to so many.'

After being discharged from the army and facing issues with hospital treatment, Gary fell into depression, reaching a point where he attempted to take his own life.

Now, with the support network forged by the charity he built, veterans across Portsmouth and the surrounding area can get the help they need, either directly from Forgotten Veterans UK or via signposting to other services.

While the award has Gary's name on it, he says every volunteer with the charity deserves a prize of their own too.

He said: 'I don't see it as my award, but as an award for everyone who works with the charity.

'I was blown away to be honest - I thought I was just there because I had been nominated and felt a little bit out of place, to tell the truth, since the other winners had done some extremely brave work.

'It was totally unexpected, showed us that every night we've been out working with the police, or launched a search party for a missing veteran, has been recogised and appreciated.'