charity ambassadors

Meet our Charity Ambassadors – the heartbeat of our mission who amplify our goals,  inspire change, & transform lives

At Woody’s Lodge, we are fortunate to be surrounded by a passionate group of people who go above and beyond to support our cause. These extraordinary individuals, our Charity Ambassadors, are the heartbeat of our mission. They are more than just advocates; they are the voices that amplify our goals, the faces that inspire change, and the hands that reach out to make a difference in our veteran charity.

Turning empathy into action

Our Ambassadors are volunteers, veterans, and allies who share a common commitment to the wellbeing of fellow veterans and their families. What makes them truly special is their dedication to turning empathy into action. Whether it’s organising veteran charity events, sharing inspiring stories, or simply lending a helping hand, they embody the spirit of unity that defines Woody’s Lodge.

Champions of compassion: What do Charity Ambassadors do?

Our Charity Ambassadors play a vital role in bringing our work to the forefront by engaging with communities, sparking conversations, and encouraging others to join hands in our fundraising endeavours. This role is pivotal as it not only expands our outreach but also serves as a heartfelt thank you to all who move our mission forward.

Our ambassadors have served the Welsh nation in the military or police force, and this ensures they have firsthand experience and a deep understanding of the challenges faced by veterans and their families. Some of the many responsibilities they are entrusted with include:

Event Presence: Attend a variety of events, from community gatherings to veteran charity events, showcasing the impactful work of Woody’s Lodge.

Storytelling: Share compelling narratives about Woody’s Lodge, illustrating the positive difference we make in the lives of veterans and their families.

Personal Connection: Be open to sharing personal experiences when appropriate, fostering a genuine connection with the community.

Inspiration: Motivate individuals to support us through fundraising efforts, or extend gratitude to those who have already made a difference.

Professional Representation: Uphold the values of Woody’s Lodge by representing the charity professionally and warmly.

Engagement: Engage with the public, answering questions about the charity and igniting conversations about the important issues we address.

Advocacy: Actively promote Woody’s Lodge to potential supporters and fundraising opportunities whenever possible.

Support Networks: Direct veterans to the valuable services offered by Woody’s Lodge.

Leadership: Take initiative in organising and leading fundraising events, such as our annual charity cycle, ensuring the continued success of our veteran charity.

Challenge Stereotypes: Courageously challenge stigma and discrimination associated with financial, physical, and mental challenges within the community.

Introducing our Ambassadors: Lives led by unconditional service to others

It’s time to get to know our outstanding Charity Ambassadors, whose service creates a supportive community where every voice is heard and every contribution matters. 

Richie Bartle: Former Royal Marine goes beyond the battlefield to help others

Meet Richie Bartle, a true warrior with an unwavering commitment to service and a heart dedicated to making a difference. Richie commenced his journey with the Royal Marines in 2008, demonstrating unparalleled courage and dedication. Following his impactful first tour in Afghanistan (Herrick 12), he felt the call to do even more and volunteered to join the UK Special Forces (SBS) — a decision that would shape his path profoundly.

In 2012, after successfully completing his training, Richie embarked on four overseas operations, showcasing his resilience and elite skills. Unfortunately, in 2020, Richie’s journey took an unexpected turn, leading to a medical discharge due to noise-induced hearing loss. However, this challenge only fuelled Richie’s determination to continue serving, albeit in a different capacity.

Post-discharge, Richie took the helm and founded HMG Clothing, a venture specialising in combat-inspired apparel. He also co-founded East Chase Distillers, an artisan distillery that crafts premium gin. 

Notably, Richie shares a deep connection with Paul (Woody) Woodland, as they were not only friends but also trusted work colleagues during their time in the SBS. His journey extends beyond the battlefield; it’s a testament to the strength of the human spirit and the commitment to a greater cause. Now, as a proud Charity Ambassador for Woody’s Lodge, Richie brings his unique experiences to the forefront, inspiring others and fostering a sense of community support.

Gina Allsop: Former Royal Signals Soldier has powerhouse spirit of giving back

Meet Gina Allsop, a former Royal Signals Soldier who was deployed to numerous operations during her military service. Gina embodies the spirit of service both on and off the battlefield, and her journey speaks volumes of her commitment to making a positive impact in the veteran community.

In 2022, she received the prestigious Soldiering On Inspiration Award, followed by the Veterans Award Volunteer of the Year in 2023, recognising her outstanding charity and volunteer work for military, youth, and animal causes. As a fundraiser and motivational speaker, Gina lends her voice to veteran charity events for organisations like SSAFA, Sporting Force, ACCT UK, and more.

But her commitment goes beyond the spotlight. For the past decade, she has volunteered as an adult instructor for the Army Cadet Force, taught for Animal Aid in schools, and served as a Marine Mammal medic for British Diver Marine Life Rescue. Her passion for mental health advocacy stems from personal struggles, leading her to become an ambassador for End Suicide.

In memory of her brother, Gina founded an art foundation for cancer patients, a haven where they can momentarily escape the challenges of illness. Her feats extend even further — walking an astounding 5200 miles in a year to fundraise, editing a poetry book that celebrates military service and promotes mental well-being, with all profits dedicated to charity.

Gina’s involvement doesn’t stop there. She is now a proud ambassador for The Purple Warriors, a veteran’s Dragon Boat Team, uniting veterans through sport and providing a lifeline to its members. Beyond her philanthropic endeavours, Gina has founded and managed two successful businesses, Military Workout Ltd and Arc 24 Ltd, the latter providing security for the MOD in the protection of MOD Ships for the past 13 years.

Despite facing challenges, including a hostile takeover affecting ARC 24, Gina’s resilience has only strengthened her commitment to charitable work. Now, as a Charity Ambassador for Woody’s Lodge, Gina brings her powerhouse spirit to our cause, resonating with her deep sense of service.

Gordon Barclay: Celebrated former policeman takes cycling for charity to new heights

Say hello to Gordon Barclay, affectionately known as “Porty” in his hometown of Portobello, Edinburgh, Scotland. Gordon brings with him a wealth of experience and a heart dedicated to helping others.

His awe-inspiring journey commenced in 1989 when he joined the Metropolitan Police, dedicating an impressive 35 years to various roles, including specialised postings. In 2021, his outstanding contributions to the Covert Policing arena earned him the prestigious Queens Police Medal. But Gordon’s story takes an even more uplifting turn. In 2017, seeking solace from the demands of his career, he discovered the joy of cycling—a passion that swiftly transformed into a powerful means of fundraising for numerous charities.

During his cycling adventures, Gordon’s path intersected with our Co-Chair, Clive Hamilton, and the mission of our veteran charity. The resonance was profound. Having spent his career supporting colleagues and their families through challenging times, including the heart-wrenching issue of suicide, Gordon, a dedicated mental health first aider, felt a deep connection with our mission.

Gordon is fully committed to supporting Woody’s Lodge. His dedication extends to leading teams of cyclists in our veteran charity events, tirelessly working to amplify our presence within the emergency service family.

Now, as one of our recently appointed Charity Ambassadors, Gordon will continue making a positive impact in the lives of those who need it most. 

Steve Owen: Former Armed Forces serviceman overcomes life-altering challenges & emerges as a beacon of hope

Allow us to introduce you to our newest Ambassador, Steve Owen—a living embodiment of courage, resilience, and dedication. Steve’s journey is nothing short of extraordinary, from his early days in the army to his service in Afghanistan, where he faced serious injuries. 

His commitment remained steadfast as he transitioned into the role of a Close Protection Officer. Despite life-altering challenges, including a profound amputation upon returning to the UK, Steve’s spirit soared, becoming a beacon of hope and strength.

In a testament to his indomitable resolve, Steve walked over 700 miles for charity, setting world records and proving that adversity can be transformed into an incredible source of strength. In 2020, amid the global pandemic, Steve’s path led him to Woody’s Lodge, where he made an indelible mark as the West and Mid Wales Project Manager, rising to the pivotal role of Operations Manager.

April 2023 marked a new chapter for the veteran as he embarked on a family-run venture—Siop Fferm Cherry Picked, a farm-shop/deli nestled on the scenic West coast of Wales. Here, he continues to nurture his family roots and enrich his community, perpetuating the values of service that have defined his incredible life.

His unshakeable determination and ability to transform adversity into a wellspring of strength are an inspiration to us all. 

Support our Charity Ambassadors through our veteran charity

Thank you to our Charity Ambassadors — your passion lights the way for positive change. You can show them support by rallying behind our veteran charity events. Spreading the word about our charity and donating through our website ensures we can continue assisting our Veterans throughout Wales who are struggling financially, physically, and psychologically. Together, we can bring life-changing services to those who once served our beautiful nation! 

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