a fantastic start
to the year!”
Andrew joined the Royal Marines Band Service after his 16th
birthday, one week later than the rest of his troop due to his young age.
Andrew passed out of training with
the Royal Marines Corps of Drums
in 1976, receiving the Premier Drum
Company award for Best Drummer.
In 1989, Andrew lost 11 friends in the
IRA bombing of the Royal Marines
Band room at Deal Barracks, Kent.
Since leaving the service, Andrew
has struggled with his mental health
and has battled addiction. During
this period, he often busked to
make money and on better days
provided classical guitar lessons
and played gigs at weddings.
Getting him through this tough period
was Andrew’s son, Joe. They have built
a fantastic relationship and very often
spend time exploring and cycling to
new places, with Andrew calling his
bike a lifesaver during the lockdowns.
Unfortunately, in September 2021
Andrew’s bike was stolen from his
shed. The bike was not covered by
his insurance and after reporting
the theft to the police he went on a
downward spiral of returning to his
‘old ways’ and ‘toxic friends’.
Andrew began drinking heavily again, and his mental health deteriorated rapidly; he was bereft and overwhelmed by his situation and could see no way out.
A friend suggested contacting RMA -
The Royal Marines Charity to see if we
might be able to help – and we could.
Andrew telephoned the Charity
in a distraught state, desperate
for his bike back and spoke to our
Casework Manager, who liaised with a
caseworker at the Royal British Legion.
The caseworker promptly supported
Andrew with the completion of
several forms and helped obtain
relevant receipts for the original bike
and quotes for a replacement one.
Although the charity recognised that
a cheaper alternative could have
been purchased it was deemed a
replacement was the most suitable.
This ensured Andrew felt valued and
not disadvantaged by the theft.
Andrew has now picked up his new
bike, has made new healthy friends in
the mountain bike community and is
able to go out again with Joe. He has
also not had any alcohol, cigarettes
(or vapes) since connecting with the
Charity and is also happier with his
guitar and updated his website too.
Andrew confirmed that the help,
encouragement, and support from the
charity have been invaluable to him.