We’re lucky to have a hard-working team of volunteers who have dedicated their own time to put on a successful, family event to celebrate our Armed Forces.
Back in 2019 a small group from the veterans community which meet each month at Vivary Park Golf Course clubhouse as part of the veterans breakfast club chatted about putting on a Taunton Armed Forces day, within a little under 3 months Wilton Lands next to Vivary Park was filled with displays, performers and local stalls. The sun was out and over 3000 visitors had a great day out.
Following this early success the group decided to ‘think big’ and gained agreement to hold Armed Forces Day in Vivary Park and Wilton Lands, sadly due to Covid the 2020 & 2021 event was cancelled, however planning is well advanced for 2022, when Somerset Armed Forces Day will take on the 2nd July.
With over 200 stalls and static displays, free fall parachute displays, flight by the Rocket man ‘Richard Browning’ marching bands, military wives choir and much more. AFD22 will be opened by our AFD champion Deborah Meaden and promises to be a fantastic day out for all the family, we look forward to welcoming you.
David joined the Army aged 15 and served in the Grenadier Guards for 14 years, seeing service in Hong Kong, Korea, Germany, Cyprus, Kenya and multiple tours of Northern Ireland, during the troubles. Upon leaving the Army David married his wife Susan and moved back to Taunton where he was born and grew up. Our two sons, both work locally, one being a teacher the other a Landscape gardener.
Following his military career David undertook a business studies qualification at Bristol University, and started his commercial sales and marketing career which took him throughout Europe generating business within the B-to-B sector. Having moved into the Automotive sector some 20 years ago, David is now the Commercial Director for a business that designs and manufactures Military seating in the UK, most of which are blast protected and supplied to customers around the globe under the ProTEK brand.
David is involved with several veterans’ groups and is one of the founding members of Armed Forces Day organising committee who are creating one of the country’s biggest and most inclusive event of its type, which will become an annual show in the Somerset Calendar, and will we hope host the national celebration in the future.
Major (Retired) Edward Cullen
Ed Cullen joined the Army in Aug 1979 as an Infantry Junior Leader at Norton Manor Camp, Taunton. were upon passing out he joined his regiment 1St Battalion the Kings Own Royal Border Regiment in Berlin as part of the Guard Force guarding the infamous Rudolf Hess. On competition of his tour of Berlin, Ed transferred to the Royal Army pay Corp which followed by many different tours of duty from as far spread as Hong Kong, Cyprus and Germany, where he was accompanied by his Wife Jackie and 3 children, two of whom were born in overseas stations. Ed did quite a few operational tours including, Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Sierra Leon and Afghanistan. Ed worked his way through the ranks and was commissioned in the rank of Captain in 2001.
Ed retired from the Army in January 2011 in the rank of Major and he has build up a thriving Bar/Catering Company with his wife over the past 9 years, his passions are Golf, Rugby, Boxing, and most of all his 6 wonderful grandchildren.
Jason was born in 1970 and joined the Army at the age of 17 in Bovington, Dorset. During his 12 years stationed Germany with the Royal Tank Regiment, Jason travelled the world participating in multiple tours of Canada, Cyprus, Northern Ireland and Poland. In 1999 Jason retired from the forces and now works for the NHS. In his spare time he works as a Funeral Operative and is an active member of the Taunton Veterans Breakfast Club. Since 2019 Jason has been a key member of Somerset Armed Forces Day Committee working tirelessly with his team to organise and host a free event for the Community of Somerset.
Stewart Leach MBE
Born in Devon and raised in Somerset, Stewart joined the Army in 1974, following service in a Junior Leaders Regiment, he badged to the Royal Military Police in Dec 1975. A career that included postings to Northern Ireland, Germany (BAOR) the UK, The Falkland Islands and Cyprus and finished back in the UK in London where his last posting was as an Army Careers Adviser. Leaving the Army in 1987 Stewart spent a couple of years in “civvy street” before commencing a career as part of Her Majesty’s Prison Service in 1991. A third career commenced in 2009 when a role as the organiser of a large component part of the National Remembrance Day Parade held in London each year, previously undertaken alongside his full-time employment was offered and accepted. Stewart retired again in 2018. Awarded the MBE in 2009, Stewart is the National Secretary of a Veterans Charity which he undertakes alongside of his roles in various other local and regional charitable and noncharitable pursuits, ranging from RMP and other Armed Forces Veterans related activities to Sea Angling and Wood Turning. Stewart is married to Pauline who supports his efforts to keep busy. Stewart says “being invited to become involved in the organisation of The Somerset Armed Forces Day 2023 following on from assisting at the successful 2022 event, is indeed an honour and privilege”.
PR & Media
Trish is the Managing Director of Genius PR & Events Ltd- A Multi Award Winning PR & Entertainment Company for Somerset!
She was born in Taunton, Somerset and has lived here all her life. She is passionate about her community. She is involved with various groups who campaign for positive changes. She is on the Executive of Taunton Chamber of Commerce. She networks regularly and at a very high level. She loves connecting businesses.
She is an extremely experienced organiser for all events of any type, size.
Genius PR & Events arrange shows across Somerset – BUT – Just in Somerset! The plan is to bring money and people/visitors into Somerset – help our local economy and provide employment for people in Somerset.
She has a regular column in the County Gazette – writing about Mindfulness, Compassion, Kindness and Positivity!
Trish has all her family in Taunton and her proudest job is being Nana to her 2 grandchildren.
Pam was born in Taunton 1949 and her father was in the Oxon Bucks Regiment, later to become The Royal Green Jackets. So moved away to travel around the world to Cyprus and Malaya etc. 1965 they moved back to Taunton and Pam worked doing payroll at CEPO Jellalabad Barracks. Pam went over to Berlin for a holiday and met up with a soldier she knew from Malaya and they got married in 1968, so started being posted around the world again including Hong Kong, Germany and Ireland. In 1994 Pam’s husband retired from the army and they settled in Taunton again. In 2006 they decided to move to France to retire then 2018 decided to return to Taunton. They joined the Veterans breakfast club in Vivary on their return and Pam heard someone say they were looking for a secretary for SAFD committee so volunteered and was accepted and been with the team for a while now.
Bob left his home town of Aberdeen to join the RAPC as an apprentice in January 1964. He served 26.5 years in many places within the UK, and Northern Ireland. He also did tours in Germany, Brunei, and Belize with exercises in Kenya, Berlin, Jamaica and North Carolina. He retired from the Pay Corps in 1990 as Warrant Officer Class 1.
Following retirement Bob worked for chartered accountants, Albert Goodmans in Taunton specialising in insolvency.
Bob married his wife Andrea in 1976 and they have two children, and one grandchild.
Bob and his wife have lived in Wellington since 1988 and are committed in their desire to support the local Community where possible.