Gibraltar Veterans Heritage Project

This month, ten veterans will travel to Gibraltar to help renovate a historic military landmark on top of the world-renowned Mediterranean rock.

Lord Airey’s Battery is an iconic element of Gibraltar’s heritage, having been built by British troops in 1891 and seen service throughout both World Wars. Since being decommissioned 1976, the gun has  fallen into disrepair and is now the subject of a renovation project spearheaded by military historian Pete Jackson, Trustee of the Gibraltar Heritage Trust.

Now a team of ten veterans, including six who have struggled and faced homelessness since leaving the Armed Forces, are returning to Gibraltar, a UK territory where many personnel spent time  serving.  The veterans are from the charity Alabaré.  Alabaré runs homes, mental health support services and social enterprises dedicated to supporting veterans back into healthy, independent lives.

Royal Marines veteran Rob Gibson is one of the Alabaré team who will be supporting the six veterans who have benefitted from Alabaré’s services.

Rob says;

“We as an organisation are extremely excited about being involved in the Heritage Project. Not only is this an opportunity for some of the veterans in our homes and service to help restore part of our history in Gibraltar, but it is also an excellent way for the veterans to give something back, whilst at the same time, building their confidence and restoring their self-belief.”

John is one of the veterans who will be taking part in the project.  He served in the Territorial Army for 7 years and went on to have a successful civilian career.  After an accident, John needed two knee operations which meant he could no longer work, and he ended up losing his home.  John was put in touch with Alabaré and has been living with us since last year.

John says;

“I am really excited to be taking part in the project. Being selected has really boosted my confidence and I can’t wait to get stuck in.  I’m glad to be able to use my skills to give something back to the Armed Forces and the people of Gibraltar who have supported the UK military for so long.”

“I’m looking forward to working alongside other veterans, some of them I know will have been through similar things to me.  It’s really good for my wellbeing and will help me break down some of the barriers that build up in my mind.”

Whilst in Gibraltar, the team will be working under the guidance of the Gibraltar Heritage Trust, the independent statutory body working for for the preservation and promotion of the territory’s culture and heritage.

Chief Executive of the Gibraltar Heritage Trust, Claire Montado says;

“We are very pleased that we have been able to bring together both organisations in such a mutually beneficial way. The passion and expertise of all involved is testament to the many individuals and organisations that are contributing to making this project a reality. We are looking forward to welcoming the group to Gibraltar.”

Pete Jackson who served with the Royal Artillery for 12 years and the Royal Gibraltar Regiment for 20 years is a highly respected local military historian and Trustee of the Gibraltar Heritage Trust.  Pete will be overseeing the works undertaken by the Alabaré veterans team.

Pete says;

“I am so happy to receive the support from Alabaré in the ongoing restoration of the Battery.  This work is much needed to bring this artillery artifact back to a standard where it can receive future visitors. Without this kind of input, we would sadly face the loss of this unique piece of Gibraltar’s military history”.

The project has been made possible thanks to support and funding from The Not Forgotten, the UK based Friends of Gibraltar Heritage Society, Greenwich Hospital and Rebecca Day 360°.

David Cowley, Chairman of the Not Forgotten says;

“The Not Forgotten are excited to be able to support the Alabarè on this incredible adventure as they bring back to life an important piece of the Armed Forces history. It is an honour to be able to play a role in giving veterans this opportunity to support a cause that they hold true passion for.”

Len Goss, Marketing & Engagement Director for the  Friends of Gibraltar says;

“We are delighted to have contributed and collaborated with Alabare, GHT and our other partners on this exciting project. Together, we will be giving the veterans a valuable confidence and skills building experience to help them move forward with their lives. We wish them every success with their future. We will also be helping to preserve and promote these historical, iconic military items as part of Gibraltar’s rich heritage.”

Celia Watson, Charity Manager at  Greenwich Hospital says;

“We are delighted to be able to support some of our naval and marine veterans to take part in this worthwhile project alongside our wider support for Alabare.  This is a great opportunity to build skills, confidence and camaraderie among military veterans. The initiative gives a valuable opportunity for those in the military to remember and acknowledge those who have served before them in addition to contributing to the restoration of Gibraltar’s history.” 

Rebecca Day, founder of Rebecca Day 360°, sources natural ingredients from origin for her products from communities as far as Nepal & Melakula Island.  All profits go to supporting disadvantaged people back in those special communities.In UK, Rebecca supports Veterans  who in turn can support our humanitarian in remote environments.

Rebecca says;

“It is an honour to sponsor projects which empower & inspire Veterans to transition back into civilian world.”

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