An exhibition of photographs provided by veterans working in the House of Commons - 'Standing Next to You' - was opened today by John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons.
The exhibition features past and present photographs of veterans alongside their remarkable stories. It was the idea of Madeleine Moon MP who wanted to highlight the fact that people who have served are all around us, and show support for Armed Forces Day.
Over 20 veterans volunteered for the exhibition from all departments and sides of the House and representing all three Services. They include Members of Parliament, Police Constables, doorkeepers and security officers. These individuals have retained the ethos they gained during their time in the Armed Forces, which remains relevant to the jobs they do today.
Many of the volunteers who contributed their stories and photographs for the exhibition attended today’s opening and Mr Bercow presented eight of them with Veterans Badges.
Madeleine Moon said:
People who served in the Armed Forces go on to a variety of careers, and they take with them the skills and values they learnt in the military.
I organised this exhibition in order to spread awareness in the House of Commons about how many of the people who we work alongside have spent time serving our country.
Amongst those represented in the exhibition are Jeff Ridgewell who served in 40 Commando Royal Marines for four years in the 1980s. Describing his career he said:
Almost immediately I went to Cyprus for six months on a United Nations peacekeeping mission, and then on my return back to the country trained for and appeared in the Royal Tournament at Earls Court.
In October 1985 the unit was posted to Belize in central America where our duties were to train the Belizean Defence Force and carry out anti-insurgent patrols on the border with Guatemala.
I am now working for the Metropolitan Police, working at the Houses of Parliament providing security within and out of the building. My time with the Royal Marines made me the person I am today, most things are achievable with hard work and dedication, and make the most of life as you never know how long you have.
Dan Jarvis attended the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst in 1996, and was commissioned into The Parachute Regiment in 1997. He said:
During my career in the Army, I served in Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Iraq and Afghanistan. As well as serving as aide-de-camp to General Sir Mike Jackson, I was also Adjutant of 3 PARA [3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment].
I was elected as the MP for Barnsley Central in a by-election on 3 March 2011, increasing the majority of votes to 11,771.
Since entering Parliament, I made my maiden speech in the Budget debate, pressing the Government to promote jobs and growth. I have become a member of the Business, Innovation and Skills [BIS] Select Committee and also chair the Labour Backbench BIS Committee.
I have monitored recent events in Libya and North Africa closely, and have challenged the Government from the backbenches on post-conflict reconstruction work in Libya.