A Nottinghamshire County Council community officer has received national recognition for his work to support veterans and serving members of the armed forces.
Prior to working for the county council, Neil Bettison served 16 years in the British Army, before being medically discharged because of injuries suffered in service.
In recent years, Neil has been able to use that experience to lead on a raft of projects to support and recognise the contribution of Nottinghamshire’s serving personnel and veterans on behalf of the county council.
He has played an influential role in the creation of Veterans Information Network Nottinghamshire (VINN), organised mental health first-aid training for people working with veterans and worked on a wide range of initiatives to mark the centenary of the Great War – including the creation of a new memorial bearing the names of the 14,000 Notts people that perished.
Now his work has seen him shortlisted in the Lifetime Achievement award for the 2018 Soldiering On Awards.
The Soldiering On Awards recognise the outstanding achievements of people from across the UK who have served their country, and the diverse people and groups who work together in support of the Armed Forces Community.
Neil said; “I have always held the view that the armed forces community should not be disadvantaged by their service.
“I feel proud and humbled to be nominated for this award, which I hope will raise the profile of the fantastic work that is done by many people in Nottinghamshire and further afield to recognise the contribution of and ensure equality of opportunity for serving personnel and veterans.”
Neil was nominated for the lifetime achievement award by Lt Col Simon Worsley (retd), deputy chief executive of East Midlands Reserve Force and Cadet Association.
In his submission, Lt Col Worsley wrote: “In his capacity as a community officer with Nottinghamshire County Council, he has been the instigator and driving force for a large number of significant enhancements to veterans’ support in Nottinghamshire.
“Neil will be horrified by his nomination as he is not one to seek reward or recognition for his efforts.
“He will also claim that what he has achieved for veterans is the results of others efforts – and there have undoubtedly been others involved – but without Neil’s gentle prodding, cajoling and enthusiasm, the high level of support now available to veterans in Nottinghamshire would not have been achieved.”
The winners of the Soldiering on Awards will be announced at a ceremony in London to be hosted by broadcaster Jeremy Vine and actress Fiona Dolman.