If you haven’t already met him, we would like to introduce Stanley, the official VOS mascot and the newest member of our community!
You’ll be seeing Stanley popping up all over the place as he takes part in a variety of VOS activities and events. He’s already attended the monthly ‘Skittles and Snorkers’ night at the Royal Maritime Hotel. As you can see from the picture, he thought he was standing alongside some less colourful cousins in a huddle before he realised that they weren’t penguins after all, and that the thing heading towards him wasn’t a snowball!!
No harm done, although he did complain he had ordered fish fingers when tucking into his hot dog and chips…
From the South Atlantic to the South of England
Stanley hails from the South Atlantic and would ordinarily be swimming around, hunting fish between The Falkland Islands and South Georgia. However, he decided to swim north to join VOS after he heard how the charity was originally started because of our founders’ connections to the Falklands Conflict in 1982, especially as he is a veteran himself as you can tell from the South Atlantic medal proudly pinned on his chest feathers.
He doesn’t talk much about what he did in the Falklands, although we believe that he is a Leading Penguin who was involved in amphibious operations and, although unconfirmed, there are stories of him being involved in beach recces in support of the Royal Marines and British Army. We hope to learn more of his secret exploits as he joins in our wide variety of social events and activities – we know how a cup of tea and a custard cream can loosen the lips of a veteran when in the company of like-minded individuals in ‘dit spinning’ mode! We are glad that he’s enjoyed such meaningful service, as his early life did feature some disappointment. We’ve learned that Stanley really wanted to join the RAF until, after many unsuccessful attempts, he realised that penguins can’t fly…
If you’re wondering about his name, Stanley’s parents named him after the capital of the Falkland Islands, Port Stanley, where they liked to spend the summer months on the beaches surrounding the capital after long winters fishing and sheltering in the Antarctic and on the island of South Georgia near the old Grytviken whaling station.
Stanley’s Adventures are Just Beginning
You’ll be seeing a lot more of Stanley in the months ahead, as he’s a bit of a photo-bomber and likes to get in on all the pictures. Perhaps he’s trying to find a mate, as he’s arrived here as a single penguin and like all matelots he thinks he’s ‘God’s gift’, so to speak.
Perhaps we should keep an eye out for developments on this front. Should a partner emerge, they will be very welcome to join Stanley at all of VOS’ activities and groups.
One final thing! VOS would like to acknowledge Susan and Richard Dawnay (RAF Veteran), as we’ve heard that they played a key role in relocating Stanley from the South Atlantic to Portsmouth via the Isle of Wight. Thank you, Susan and Richard!
If you’re a veteran from the UK Armed Forces or the Merchant Navy (from any time of service) or a partner to one, VOS would love for you to join our community. We are here to offer our support: call us on 02392 731 767, visit an upcoming drop-in, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
VOS is immensely grateful to the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust and the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity, as without their support and funding we would not be able to provide our wellbeing activities.