Stuart Mackie - RNRMC Project ManagerOriginally from Aberdeen, I left school in 1982 to start an apprenticeship as a Heating Engineer. I had no interest in pursuing a military career, even though my grandfather, father and uncles had all served with Scottish regiments in conflicts from WW2 to Korea. The Falklands War was forever on the news reporting on the heroic actions of our troops. It was this that stirred up the military blood in me and compelled me to join the Parachute Regiment, much to the bemusement of my kin! Aged 18, I did my first parachute jump that founded my continual passion for free-fall parachuting and flying light aircraft.

In 1988 I joined the service-police branch of the RAF, with a secondary duty as a bagpiper. My last posting brought me to St Athan, Wales, where upon leaving in 1994, I continued to tour with the pipe band. I joined Gwent Police and after qualifying as an Inspector, I transferred to West Mercia Police based at Hereford. I retired in 2021.

During my 27 years police service I have worked in a variety of specialist roles including the Drugs Squad, Public Order Unit, Armed Response Vehicle, CBRN, Child Protection, Recruitment & Promotion Assessment, Disaster Victim Identification and the Criminal Justice Department. I was seconded to the Civil Nuclear Constabulary as a Tactical Firearms Supervisor. One of my highlights was my involvement in the training of nuclear site security to Russian site managers from all over the Russian Federation.

Deemed as one of the most difficult jobs in UK policing, my time as custody Sergeant tested me to the limits in ensuring that some of the most demanding, vulnerable detainees, including veterans were kept safe.

To raise awareness and challenge the stigma of mental health problems amongst Police Officers and staff, I became a Mental Health Champion with the charity ‘Mind’. I’m also a Dementia Friends Champion with the Alzheimer’s Association, where I organise public sessions to deliver an awareness package about the personal impact of dementia.

I’ve lived in Wales with my wife for 32 years and have two adult sons who are both Health Care Professionals. I am a keen musician, linguist, beekeeper and qualified horticulturist.

I have always had an enthusiastic approach to voluntary work. I’ve been an instructor with the Military Preparation College Cardiff, Expedition Leader and Gliding Instructor with the Air Training Corps, RAF Volunteer Reservist and one of the founder advanced motorcycle riders of Blood-Bikes Wales. My association with Woody’s began in 2021 as a volunteer driver and then assisting on the superb ‘Nature Based Therapy’ gardening courses run in partnership with the Defence Gardens Scheme.

Therefore, I am privileged to be a permanent part of the Woody’s Lodge team where I can combine my skills and experiences to make a positive, lasting impact on the lives of our veterans and their families throughout Wales.

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