Jamie Robinson

After leaving school at 16 years of age in 1977, I joined HM Forces and enlisted in the Scots Guards as a boy soldier and carried out 1 year of extensive training in the Guards. After passing out in 1978 I was posted to Munster in Germany with the 2nd Bn Scots Guards and served until 1985. I was posted in various parts of the world including Northern Ireland during The Troubles and the Falklands War in 1982.

After leaving the military I moved about in certain jobs until I started working in the aviation industry in 1993 as a temporary baggage handler. Through time I got the post full-time and worked my way through the ranks to an operations manager, operating in several airports in the UK setting up systems and, in some cases, overseeing the whole operation and reporting back to my area manager. Unfortunately, due to 9/11, the aviation industry took a big hit and I was made redundant whilst working at Newcastle International Airport.

I then started driving coaches but by then I was having problems with my knees and over time both have been replaced.

On retirement through ill health my wife and I settled in Clacton-on-Sea and joined the local branch of the Royal British Legion and because of my military service I took on the role as Assistant Parade Marshal. I then became the branch Parade Marshal and looked after all parades and services. I also took on a role as a committee member before becoming the Branch Secretary followed by the Deputy Chairman and then Chairman. I was also involved with Essex County RBL and held the role of county recruiting officer, County Parade Marshal and A Group Secretary and then Chairman.

After moving to Mistley in 2013 I was one of the co-founders who set up the Manningtree & District RBL which was run until Covid struck and was closed due to lack of numbers attending.

We have now set up the North Essex Veterans Support Group (NEVSG) which was founded in 2021 and has gone from strength to strength, where we have had over 80 members attend our breakfast over the years. We assist in helping out veterans in times of need. The group has outgrown our original venue of the Crown in Manningtree and we have now moved to the Brantham Leisure Centre for our breakfasts and events.

Sharon Robinson

Born Sharon Elizabeth Robinson in Corbridge, Northumberland and raised in Newcastle Upon Tyne by my grandparents, I attended St Wilfreds Secondary Modern for Girls.  On leaving school I worked at Fenwicks Dept store in Newcastle until I joined the WRAC the following year (1978). 

On leaving the Armed Forces I studied and qualified as a Youth and Community worker while working for the National Association of Boys Clubs.  While it was a typically male-dominated organisation it was very forward-thinking in its approach to inclusiveness, race and gender.  On qualifying, I took over my own Youth and Community centre that was in a very poor part of North Tyneside.  This being the case, the whole community got involved in helping me bring the centre back to a stage where it was suitable for all the activities we had to offer, which was everything from a Baby Clinic to Pensioners Lunches with its key focus as a Youth Centre on evenings and weekends. 

Leaving my post in 1989 to emigrate to Australia, I found my qualifications worthless and found myself in the corporate world working as a Customer Relations Manager for Thorn EMI.  On returning to England, I turned down an offer to work in the London office of Thorn EMI as the commute from Colchester was just too much and, as my daughter was at primary school, I didn’t want to be too far away in case anything untoward happened.  After noticing an ad in the local paper, I joined Essex County Newspapers and stayed with them for quite a few years until I left to train as a nurse. 

I stayed in nursing for quite a while but did not like the fact I was doing more paperwork than caring and that politics had set into an environment which it should never have.  So from there I became a full time professional singer performing in pubs, clubs, holiday parks, golf clubs, the list is endless.  During my latter years as a singer, we became volunteers for the RBL as case workers, learning all there was to know about doing reports and applications for assistance.  So here we are today a very happy wife, Mam and Nanna and Co-Founder of NEVSG.

Steve Foley

Steve hails from Workington, Cumbria, a career soldier who joined the British Army in 1984 at the age of 16 and retired in 2010 in the rank of SSgt. Steve has carried out various roles from squash & fitness coaching to being a regional Mentoring Coordinator for the Armed Forces Charity SSAFA, and as a Restorative Justice & Mediation Practitioner since leaving the Army. A trained hostage negotiator, Steve now wants to dedicate his time to supporting veterans in need, in any way he can.

With a desire to make a difference, Steve currently works as a Residential Care Practitioner in a children’s home where he supports those in care who have been through trauma. A challenging role that brings so much to his normal day. 

Although still early days, Steve has a vision to help The North Essex Veterans Support Group with a scheme that is combined between mentoring and befriending; it will build a network that supports those who need it the most, creating a protective & empowering environment for our veterans.

Outside all of this, Steve loves musicals and is currently a YouTube-taught drummer in his spare time and frequently posts drum covers on his channel. 

Steve is looking forward to supporting our veterans in any way he can, big or small.

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