Volunteer of the Month: Tony Hudson, Merchant Navy Veteran

Please join us in congratulating our first ever Volunteer of the Month, Tony Hudson. 

Volunteers have a key role in making our community a welcoming and effective space for those seeking support. We can’t thank them enough! As a small way to show our appreciation for Tony, VOS has awarded him a gift card to spend in a shop of his choosing.

“Tony’s dedication as a veteran volunteer has been amazing,” shares Wendy Pearson, VOS Wellbeing Officer. “He helped us deliver wellbeing packs during lockdown, and running the Stubbington Coffee Group with other volunteers he’s grown from strength to strength.”

Going above and beyond, Tony also takes every opportunity to promote Veterans Outreach Support in the local area for those who may not have heard about us yet. While we currently serve more than 500 veterans and their partners in Portsmouth, Fareham, Gosport, and the Isle of Wight, we know there are plenty more out there who could use the friendship and support of people like Tony (plus the clinical mental health and welfare support VOS provides).

“We always appreciate Tony helping at events and attending supermarkets with our VOS leaflets to spread the word,” Wendy adds. “He is a valuable member of the VOS family.”

A Veteran Helping Veterans: Tony’s Story

Merchant Navy veterans at Veterans Outreach Support

We consider ourselves very lucky to have so many veterans volunteering at VOS. It’s easy for our service users to feel at home when they get to chat with people who really speak their language. Tony himself is a Merchant Navy veteran. Here’s what he said about his background when asked to give a small write up last Merchant Navy Day.

I left the Merchant Navy many years ago now, having signed up in 1974. However, I have not lost touch with the service.

Those that have sailed under the Red Ensign know it’s a service that is not always associated with conflict or suffering. However, from the North Atlantic and Arctic convoys of WWII to disaster relief duties around the world, and of course the Falklands conflict, Merchant Navy sailors (both men and women) have served without question and indeed have given their life to this end…organisations such as VOS are there for the good and desperate times for all of our (former) seafarers.

When I retired in 2019, I was made aware from a friend about VOS and all the good work they do. They not only welcome and support the three Armed Forces services, they also embrace Merchant Navy personnel. I have now been volunteering with VOS for three years and I would like to think I have supported many service users that have come to us for help and advice.

Tony, you certainly have.

If you’ve met Tony and appreciate his hard work, be sure to let him know in the comments below.

Veteran volunteer Tony Hudson smiling on Merchant Navy Day with Veterans Outreach Support in Portsmouth.

Would you or someone you know like to join our team of volunteers? There’s always something to do at Veterans Outreach Support- reach out to us at wellbeing@vosuk.org to start your volunteering journey.

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 admin@vosuk.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.

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