Ian Driver


Ian comes from a training background, transforming himself in to a highly qualified lecturer and training teacher Nebosh,Dip Tec IOSH,Aiirsm,Mifl.MinstLM,MSET. Launching this concept for a charity back in 2003 Ian has worked within the charitable and voluntary sector for over 15 years and held a number of positions of trust within the voluntary and service sectors

Veterans Response Chairman

Tyneside Kidney Patient Association Chairman

Sight Service Director by Guarantee  

Ian’s passion is to help people help themselves to their full potential. With his passion and determination to enhance their lives is clearly obvious .

So what made Ian get involved with the military community?

Ian’s dad and brother were both serving personnel. His dad Frank served in the ‘Royal Engineers’ SAPPER along with his brother Kevin serving in the ‘Royal Air Force’, they both served for the country. Both sadly no longer with us as you can imagine Ian and the rest of his family took a long time to grieve and adjust to this huge loss. But what struck Ian during this sensitive time was the lack of support for Veterans and their families. There is simply little to no support for bereaved families, some agencies even stated that they did not meet their criteria. Ian makes this very clear he has NOT served himself Veterans Response was setup in the memory of his Dad & Brother. Ian has been warmly welcomed by the military community and has become highly respected for his determination and clear passion to help all Veterans, Current Serving Personnel along with their families. Ian is a member of the Sunderland & North East Armed Forces Network. He is an active member of the Sunderland armed forces Day Management Team. He has been rewarded and helps with a number of military support groups and is been given the opportunity to join the administration team to help both veterans and current military personnel and families

Forces Online CIC

Forces Online Co Durham, Northumberland, Tyne & Wear

Armed Forces & Veterans Breakfast Clubs

Veterans First

Houses for Veterans

     Russell Black

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Russell Black, who has spent more than 20 years supporting and fundraising for veterans, was presented with a special award.

The 60-year-old runs the Shotley Bridge War Memorial Cottages Trust, which has made three cottages available for ex-service personnel. Veterans can rent the two-bedroom properties for a reduced rent.

He joined the Royal Engineers at the age of 16 as a ‘boy soldier’ and later went on to join the 59 Commando Squadron of the Royal Engineers, serving in places like Norway, Northern Ireland and Denmark, and then moved to 9 Parachute Squadron. He left in 1987 and went on to become a teacher. However, he worked part-time with the 23 Special Air Service until 1993




1973 Junior leaders regiment royal engineers B2 combat engineer

1974 29 fieldsquadron  Hamel BOAR Germany (N. Ireland )

1975 all arms commando course 59 independent squadron royal engineers Plymouth

1976 Condor troop Arbrouth(Norway DenmarkN. Irelandet al )

1978 59 independent commando squadron royal engineers

1981 42 field Squadron royal engineers Hamel Germany(22 SAS election until last day)

1983 38 Berlin field squadron royal engineers

1985 9 independent para squadron Aldershot (P company + parachute course )

1995 marriage to the HonSarah Mace 

1986 left regular army 23 SAS selectionBadged( college lecturer in service Bed hons)

1991 became chairman of war memorial cottages trust shotley bridge

1993left 23 SAS due to family and work pressures

19 years in furthereducation10 years as a school teacher predominately secondary

   Now retired looking after my poorly wife


George Reynolds

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George, 67, from Washington, was praised for travelling across the country to attend funerals of war veterans and carrying a standard at the processions. One of his recent trips was to Dorset.

The grandad-of-eight says he does this “out of respect for the brothers and sisters who served the country”.

He added: “Messages come through to us on Facebook and people ask if we can attend funerals. I have been everywhere from Aberdeen to Bournemouth, including places like Liverpool and Manchester, and I carry the standard.”

Enlisted June 69 Woolwich august 69 posted to 4th field regt RA Munsterlager Germany june 72 Belfastnov 73 posted to 1st bty (the blazers) Singapore Nov 75 posted to 3rha DevizesJan 76 BelfastJune 76 left Regs aug 76 101 rgt TA 78 left military service for goodalso went to Canada and America during service

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Steve Watson

From Consett Co Durham Steve Watson joined the Intelligence Corps as a direct entrant in the early eighties. During training he specialised as an intelligence and security operator and his first posting saw him posted to an operational security section based in Wiltshire.  Soon promoted to full Corporal Steve was then posted to Bielefeld where he obtained a German language qualification and saw service with 70 Int Section. Steve excelled in the operational Int field and was quickly promoted to Sergeant and posted to the elite espionage unit BRIXMIS, which undertook operations inside East Germany. He was commended for his ground breaking work before leaving in 1988 for the Anti-Terrorist Surveillance Unit (90 Security Section) working directly against terrorist targets. At the turn of the decade, whilst on a surveillance refresher course at his depot in Ashford, Kent, Steve was recruited to join the newly formed surveillance teams of the highly sensitive Investigation Division of HM Customs & Excise (as was) operating against live drug smugglers in and around Heathrow airport. Steve was commissioned into the civil service as an Executive officer and then spent a number of years working in hostile environments, often using pseudonyms and aliases as part of the investigations.  However, although Steve was again commended for his work, it had taken its toll and in the mid-nineties Steve resigned his Civil Service commission and took a year out travelling. There then followed a couple of years working in the private security industry but Steve felt that this could never match up to the 'real thing' so he chose a completely different career path, working for the Royal Mail rising to become a senior manager. He met his wife in Thailand whilst on holiday and decided to move there before returning to the UK in 2010 to allow his children to attend English schools.

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Terrie Driver

I have been married to Ian Driver 25 years this November but been together for 29 years yes I knowI deserve a medal.  We have two great kids Caroline 22 (Special Needs) & Michael 18 an. My grandad was a former Spitfire Pilot who served are country and complete a number of missions for our country and lived till his 70s and proud of his service to his country.  My Father in law Frank served in the ‘Royal Engineers SAPPER’ along with my brother in law Kevin  served in the ‘Royal Air Force’, they both served for the country. Both sadly no longer with us as you can imagine Ian and the rest of his family including myself took a long time to grieve and adjust to this huge loss. I fully support veterans response with the passion it clearly showsfor our veterans. I can certainly say its very rewarding helping veterans to move on to better things to fullfilling their lives.

Jamie Swainston

Jamie Swainston is a traditional Highland Bagpiper. he took up playing the pipes at the age of twelve after watching a local pipe band playing at an event. The band was The Newton Aycliffe Pipe Band. Sadly the band folded in the early 1990's after a merger with another local band that did not go successfully, . The band however reformed and adopted the name The Newton Aycliffe RBL Pipes and Drums. he has played in many Pipe Bands including Jarrow Ex Service Pipe Band, Cleveland Pipes and Drums, Hebburn Royal British Legion Pipe Band. he has also competed in many piping contests both as a band member and a solo piper. In 2001 he decided to join the Newton Aycliffe RBL Pipes & Drums and was made Pipe Sergeant. In October of 2001 he was promoted to the rank of Pipe Major and the following spring of 2002 the band under my charge represented the UK at a folk festival in Agrigento, Sicily which was organised by CIOFF, after much deliberation he decided to leave the band to concentrate more on solo performance  Jamie also spent a brief period in the Armed forces training to be an infantry Soldier, based at The Light Division Depot in Winchester in 1991, he was inspired to do this because of his Uncle the late Michael Swainston who served for 22 years with the 15th/19th Kings Royal Hussars, however army life was not for Jamie.

When jamie is fundraising for veterans response he will have his ID Badge on display and letter of authorisation on letterheaded paper also with relevant permits. Jamie is a true professional and our offical fundraiser for Veterans Response.

Jamie continues to play that pipes at various events and is available to hire for performance. You can check ou what he offers clients on his website at Spirit Of The Glen Events Highland Bagpiper or go to his twitter page Spirit Of The Glen (@GlenSpirit) on Twitter or contact Veterans Response on Tel 01914274764