Wednesday November 29th 2023
Owen Thompson MP was awarded a challenge coin from Who Dares Cares founder Calum Macleod.
A Midlothian MP who has spoken out on the need for support for veterans of the armed forces has received a prestigious honour from a military charity.
Owen Thompson was awarded a challenge coin from Who Dares Cares founder Calum Macleod after they met up last week.
And Calum praised the politician for his work for and on behalf of veterans and their families.
Who Dares Cares is a support group for former military and emergency services personnel with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Former soldier Calum said: “It was a great honour to meet Owen as he has been so supportive of veterans and their families.
“These coins are earned not freely given out. They only go to people who have gone the extra mile.
“Whether it is campaigning for nuclear test veterans or trying to help us stop people falling between the cracks of the system, Owen puts people first.
“Our message is that we must remember the fallen while supporting the living and Owen encapsulates that ethos.”
Calum – who served in Northern Ireland and Iraq – said more needed to be done to support the minority of armed forces veterans who struggled after their service.
He said: “If the armed forces covenant is to actually mean anything then we have to at least give these people a chance.
“There remains a real sense that once you are out of the barrack’s gate then no-one cares and you are someone else’s problem.”
Earlier this year Mr Thompson was involved in the launch of a veterans survey by an all party parliamentary group which revealed shocking levels of concern among former armed forces veterans.
The survey found nearly 84 per cent found the support they received while applying for compensation was poor or very poor while a similar number said the consideration given to their mental and/or physical health whilst making their claim was poor or very poor.
Mr Thompson said meeting with Calum and hearing about the work of his group was ‘enlightening’.
He said: “They really put service and support to others first. Calum is doing some amazing work including helping veterans who have fallen into the justice system.
“It was an honour to meet him – I will cherish my challenge coin forever now.”
Challenge coins have a long and important military history.
The Roman Empire rewarded brave soldiers by presenting them with coins to recognise their achievements.
Challenge coins were reportedly first awarded to British pilots in World War One as a token of appreciation and a way to prove their identity and which unit they belonged to.Tweet Share on Facebook