A VOLUNTARY outreach worker with a Haslingden-based veterans’ charity has been selected as a finalist for a national military honour.
The annual Soldiering On Awards have selected Tony Stubbs for the Inspiration Award – last year one of the charities he helps, Veterans In Communities, was also a finalist in the ‘working together’ category.
Tony, 42, from Bolton is the outreach worker for Middleton and also runs the allotment in Langley, said: “I found out a couple of weeks ago that I had been nominated but I only discovered on Thursday that I had been shortlisted.
“I am very grateful to those who nominated me and I am very proud to have been named as a finalist.”
Tony also works as a volunteer Peer Mentor for the Military Veterans Service in the North West mentoring people with drug and alcohol problems and a media ambassador for The Royal British Legion on the Veterans’ Gateway.
Tony is originally from Manchester and was just 15 when he signed up and 16 when he went on a Junior Leaders’ Course.
On passing the course he completed his training in Newcastle and he was posted into the King’s Own Royal Border Regiment completing three tours in Northern Ireland and Germany.
On returning home he struggled to fit in and became homeless, mixing with the wrong crowd and fell into a life of crime.
Four years ago, his son Anthony went missing and tragically seven weeks later his body was discovered; he was only 16.
Tony said: “I was transferred to the Military Veterans’ Service about 18 months later and between them and VIC they put me back on the right road. I asked for help before my son went missing, but his death gave me the determination to sort something out.”
His own battle with alcoholism has left Tony in need of a liver transplant.
The winner of the award will be the person or group judged to have overcome significant challenges, injury or disability and whose achievements are an inspiration to others; embodying the spirit of Soldiering On.
There are six other finalists in the category.
Speaking on behalf of all Awards Judges Lord Dannatt said: “What a privilege to have judged the Finalists from such a rich list of nominations – all of whom were undoubtedly winners in their own way.”
Overall winners will be announced at a Black Tie gala reception, dinner and Awards’ ceremony at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel, London.
Operations Manager of VIC Bob Elliott said: “We are very proud that Tony’s many achievements are being recognised on a national scale and that VIC will again be represented at such a prestigious ceremony. We wish him well”.