A small but dynamic and effective team, here at VOS we are dedicated and passionate about supporting the veteran community.
Many of us have a military background and understand the complexities of adjusting to life out of the service.
Do you want to join us? See here for any vacancies
Wellbeing & Volunteers Manager
VPPP Portfolio Manager
IoW Delivery Manager
Mike was educated at West Buckland School, Devon. After a short spell in the Royal Navy Mike joined the Army and commissioned into the Royal Corps of Transport. He specialised in port and maritime operations serving in UK, Germany, Northern Ireland, the Balkans, USA, Falkland Islands and finally Brazil as Defence Attache. Since leaving the Army, Mike worked in Maritime Security and then as a Project and Race Director for Sail Training International (Tall Ships Races) where he still works part time. Currently a Trustee of the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League as well as Chairman of VOS, Mike also volunteers with a hospice and an animal charity. He is a sports enthusiast and classical music lover.
Ruth has been Chief Executive of The Rowans Hospice since March 2002. Originally qualifying as a registered Nurse in 1983 and a psychodynamic counsellor in 1993, Ruth has since studied psycho-social palliative care and attended many leadership and management training programmes relevant to the third sector. Ruth is a member of a number of professional bodies, relevant to this specialist area and has two national roles with the National Council of Palliative Care and Hospice UK (formerly Help the Hospices). Throughout Ruth’s career she has supported military personnel who are dying and many families who are subsequently bereaved. As a trustee to VOS she hopes that her knowledge of the charitable sector as an independent provider of healthcare will be of use and benefit to the organisation.
After a career in practise as a Chartered Accountant, where he specialised in audit and Charities, since retirement Mike has assisted a number of local Charities. Going to school in Portsmouth, Mike remembers the RMC as the Sailors Home. He has been a Trustee of the Royal Maritime Club for some years, and has been involved in their obtaining financial support, and subsequently has led on the Refurbishment Project. Originally attending VOS board meetings as an observer for the RMC, Mike agreed to formally join the VOS a couple of years ago to fill the perceived need for a Finance Trustee. Mike has also been involved in a number of other local charities, and in his leisure time is likely to be boating; after half a century of competitive sailing, Mike is now a National Race Officer, running events for others.
Dr Robin Kent
Robin joined the Royal Navy aged 16 as an Artificer apprentice in 1962 and was selected for Dartmouth in 1966 for fixed wing pilot training. He flew Buccaneer strike aircraft from Hermes and Ark Royal during the Cold War in the 70’s and flew Sea Harriers as Senior Pilot of 801 Squadron from Invincible during the slightly warmer war with Argentina over the Falklands. (Mentioned in Despatches 1982). He served in the Navy to Commander and retired as Senior Naval Officer responsible for Royal Navy fast jet flying training based at RAF Linton on Ouse in Yorkshire. Married to Antoinette in 1982, Robin has had several appointments in the commercial aviation training sector before attending Sussex University to complete a BA, MSc and DPhil in Cognitive Psychology. While conducting research into PTSD at Sussex University Robin met with Morgan O’ Connell at Combat Stress and this resulted in his joining Veterans Outreach Support in 2010. He has since completed 10 years in the role of Assistant Clinical Psychologist with VOS and has been closely involved in the evolution of services provided by VOS. He now serves on the board of Trustees.
Alex spent 26 years in the Navy, initially as a Reservist. She was Staff Officer Naval Personal and Family Service and Royal Marines Welfare during Op Telic, for which she was awarded an MBE. On leaving the Navy she was employed by Seafarers UK as Community Fundraising Manager. Alex brings organisational, team leadership and management skills, a vast experience of fundraising and welfare experience to VOS.
John spent just under 38 years in the Royal Navy, starting as a Junior Naval Airman in the Safety Equipment Branch and completing service in December 2014 as a Lieutenant Commander in the Air Traffic Control Specialisation. He had a wide variety of jobs in the Navy, both deployed operationally and ashore, but the highlight was being the Commanding Officer of HMS Victory in Portsmouth.
During his Naval Service and since leaving, John has been heavily involved in charitable work, with veterans in particular, and has raised well over £300,000 for a wide range of civil and military charities. As well as being a trustee and volunteer with VOS, he works part time for the Royal Naval Association, is a volunteer speaker with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and volunteers with a number of other charities. John is President of the Royal Naval Safety Equipment and Survival Association.
John is married to Kerry and they live in Gosport where they run a successful curtain, blinds and soft furnishing business – there simply are not enough hours in the day!
Surg Captain John Sharpley, Royal Navy
John is recently retired from the Royal Navy, having served 34 years. From 2010 – 2016 he was the Defence Consultant Advisor in Psychiatry, which essentially means he was the lead psychiatrist for the Armed Forces. He joined the Royal Navy as a medical student. After completing his training in 1991, he served in ships and establishments until 1994, when he began his psychiatric training. In 2001 he took up a consultant post in Defence Community Mental Health (DCMH) Portsmouth, where he works clinically now. He has deployed on operations in the Former Republic of Yugoslavia, the Gulf and Afghanistan.
Born at Minster, Isle of Sheppey, Kent. Following a 37-year career in the Royal Air Force, principally as a helicopter pilot, including service in the Trucial Oman States, Germany, command of No 18 (Chinook) Squadron during the Falklands Conflict with subsequent command appointments in Labrador, Northern Ireland and finally Kosovo, he retired in 2001 and was immediately commissioned into the Reserve in the rank of Flying Officer completing a further five years military flying before finally retiring in 2006. Following a period as CEO of the Reserve Forces Council he first became involved in the Armed Forces charity sector as the Chairman of the Confederation of Service Charities (Cobseo), a position he held for 7 years. It was during this time that he first visited VOS. In 2009, he secured an endowment of £35M from the BIG Lottery and founded the Forces in Mind Trust which he chaired for 5 years and is now the President. He was a member of the War Pensions Appeal Tribunal for 10 years. Having been injured in service he was a long-term patient at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court and is currently the Chairman of the Headley Court Charity. He will shortly retire after six years a Harbour Commissioner at Yarmouth. He is a trustee of Mountbatten Hospice, President of the Isle of Wight Branch Royal Air Forces Association and a Watch Keeper with the National Coastwatch at the Needles. Married to Sarah, they live near Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight.
Bob was born and brought up in Neath, South Wales and joined the RN in September 1971, serving until April 2007. During the course of his career he graduated with a Law Degree from the University College of Wales Aberystwyth, was called to the Bar in 1981(Gray’s Inn) and sat as a Naval Judge Advocate, as well as serving at sea and ashore as a Supply Officer. On retirement from the Service Bob went into private practice as a Barrister specialising in Armed Forces Law appearing at the Court Martial, the Court of Appeal and advising on Armed Forces Complaints of all kinds. Living in Cosham, Bob has now hung up his wig and enjoys the luxury of spending time with his friends and family in Hampshire and South Wales.
Rear Admiral Sir Jeremy de Halpert KCVO CB
Jeremy de Halpert enjoyed a full career in the Royal Navy as a Warfare Officer and Navigator, serving around the world at sea, including the Falklands War, and ashore in USA and NATO. On retiring in 2002 he was appointed Deputy Master of Trinity House, responsible for navigation safety around our coast, and the country’s largest endowed maritime charity. Now retired he was Prime Warden of the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights 2016-17, he is one of Her Majesty’s Lieutenants of the City of London, and a trustee of The Fishermens Mission and The Rosemary Foundation. He is married, with 3 children and 7 grandchildren, and lives near Petersfield. He has been President of VOS since 2014.
Honorary Vice President (Co-Founder)
Joe served in the Royal Navy from 1963 to 1997, retiring as a Chief Petty Officer Weapons Engineering Artificer, specialising in Hydrographic and Mine Countermeasures equipment. A Northern Ireland, Falklands and Gulf War 1 veteran, Joe was a Trustee of the South Atlantic Medal Association 1982 [SAMA(82)] for 8 years and is now a Vice President, the founder of the Survey Ships Association and a co-founder of VOS. He was a SSAFA Caseworker for over 10 years and was an active member of many other ex-RN Associations. A hotelier for 15 years, he spent 5 years as President of Portsmouth & Southsea Hoteliers Association and is a retired owner and director of a dog grooming and pet shop business.
Honorary Vice President (Co-Founder)
Morgan O’Connell left the Royal Navy in 1996 having joined in 1965 as a Surgeon Sub Lieutenant. After time at sea, in both General Service and Submarines, he completed 6 years at the RVH Netley, training in Psychiatry. He was the Falklands Task Force Psychiatrist in 1982 serving on board SS Canberra. Having left the Navy in 1996, he became Consultant Psychiatrist to Combat Stress, until 2007. His son, and 4 of his 5 sons in law were/are soldiers!
Honorary Vice President (Co-Founder)
Now retired from a long, and at times challenging career in the National Health Service, Ann specialised in Accident and Emergency and Trauma services. In 2007, she joined the 25th Anniversary Pilgrimage to the Falkland Islands where, in 1982, her youngest son was killed in the assault on Mt Longdon with 3 Para. On her return, Ann became involved with others in setting up Veterans Outreach in 2008. She was a Trustee of the South Atlantic Medal Association 2010 – 2014 and has been a Family Support Volunteer at the Rowans Hospice since 1997. Ann holds the Elizabeth Cross.