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Royal Navy stables and Royal British Legion partnership

28 September 2017
The Royal Navy Stables in Plymouth and Royal British Legion officially marked their partnership with the signing of an affiliation agreement.

Commodore Ian Shipperley, Naval Base Commander, Devonport, (stables trustee), and Bernard Noble, chairman of the Dartmoor Branch of the Royal British Legion (RBL) jointly signed the document at a ceremony today (26th September) at the stables.  Lieutenant Colonel Mark Totten (commanding officer 42 Commando Royal Marines) is also a signatory.

The stables were chosen as the location for the ceremony because military veterans engage in equine therapy through co-operation with the RBL. 

Cdre Shipperley said: “I’m delighted to sign this agreement between the Royal British Legion and the Navy. This is in recognition of the work carried out with veterans in rehabilitation who go through equine therapy at the stables.  

As a former soldier who served in Northern Ireland I am very much aware of the need for rehabilitation for service personnel who served in armed conflict.

Bernard Noble

“This is particularly poignant during the 35th anniversary of the Falklands Conflict with veterans who are still in need of assistance.’’

Bernard said: “As a former soldier who served in Northern Ireland I am very much aware of the need for rehabilitation for service personnel who served in armed conflict.

“I know of a former soldier from the seventies who benefits greatly from coming to the stables as he recovers from related illness.  I’m therefore, proud to be part of this agreement which builds on the existing partnership.’’

One beneficiary of the stables therapy is Chris Marsh, who had to stop his Territorial Army service and job as a health care assistant after suffering multiple injuries and brain damage from a road accident.

Chris, 33, said: “I have been coming to the stables for eight years and have benefited enormously from the therapy organised for me.  

“The horses are very understanding of people’s condition and I have formed a bond with them.  Helping at the stables has helped reduce the stress I suffered from the injuries and the aftermath. 

“The therapy has also helped me regain confidence. I’m now also seriously planning on taking part in horse competitions and taking equine qualifications, which shows how far I have come in recovery.  What started off as therapy has turned out to be my passion and hobby. ‘’

Also highlighted was a partnership between ‘Beyond the November’ project with edp – social enterprise for drug and alcohol abuse. 

Three military veterans are working with this project to design and make metal poppies from old cartridge shells, rubber and metal piping – all donated.   The poppies cost £10 and £4 is donated back to the RBL.   The RBL has received to date a cheque for £1,500 from this enterprise.  

A spokesman for the Royal British Legion said: “This year we are delighted and honoured to be part of an affiliation with Royal Navy/Royal Marines Stables at Bickleigh.

“This affiliation will ensure deeper partnerships are created with the military and the RBL.  By affiliating to this worthwhile and emotive project we can assist more veterans in their welfare and care. We are very proud to be working with both organisations for the good of our veterans and their wellbeing.”

“The main annual RBL Poppy Appeal ‘Poppy People’ Campaign begins on 28th October and fundraises for the welfare and care of veterans.

“Working with the stables and edp project and recruiting veterans to design and make the metal poppies  fulfills the aims and objectives of the RBL.’’

The Devon county Poppy Appeal launch is on the 26th October and will be in commemoration of the 35th year of the Falklands Conflict with veterans and serving Royal Marines at the Royal William Yard.

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