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3 June 2019

Addaction veterans visit Buckingham Palace

Clients and staff from Addaction Redcar and Cleveland headed to Buckingham Palace to celebrate the work the service does for veterans.

The drug and alcohol service works closely with an organisation called Not Forgotten, which hosted the annual event.

Service manager Gary Besterfield, a veteran himself, travelled down with two clients - also veterans - and team leader Laura Carter.

Gary said: “We’re always keen for the service to be aware of how to support veterans. The North East has a large proportion of veterans who were frontline soldiers, many were unprepared for what they faced and less so for life afterwards.

“We have developed strong links with local veterans' services so we can help support somebody with all their needs, not just the drug or alcohol issue. One of those organisations is Not Forgotten. It’s great to be invited to this event as an acknowledgement of our work.”

Veteran Steven McDonald, 47, said: “It was a totally surreal day. I joined the Army to serve my queen and country, so to be invited there felt like real recognition. Without Addaction I’d still be lost in a world of addiction. I’m hoping to become a peer mentor now and give something back. Talking from my own experience, if I had known there was a veteran at Addaction to talk to I’d have gone in years earlier. It’s much easier for ex-servicemen to talk to each other, they just understand. Hopefully going down this journey I can help a few more veterans like me.”

The event was attended by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Gloucester along with 3,000 veterans from across the country.