Fife armed forces volunteer receives prestigious recognition

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The chairman of the Fife branch of an armed forces charity has been recognised for his volunteering work.

George Givens of Glenrothes, who chairs the Soldiers', Sailors' & Airmen's Families Association (SSAFA) Fife Branch, was presented with a specially commissioned SSAFA Scotland region engraved plaque to signify him as a recipient of the Regional Recognition Award.

Originally from Liverpool, George (72) spent a number of years in the British Army, beginning as a 15 year old cadet in the Liverpool Scottish Army Cadet Force.

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Enlisting as a junior soldier, he spent two years in Oswestry at the Junior Leaders Battalion before being posted to the Queen’s Own Highlanders, stationed in Edinbrugh.

George was presented with the award by SSAFA for his voluntary workGeorge was presented with the award by SSAFA for his voluntary work
George was presented with the award by SSAFA for his voluntary work

George said: “Being a Scouser in the Queen’s Own Highlanders was not unusual at the time, given the close links that the Battalion had with the Liverpool Scottish [a Territorial Battalion of the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders]. I rose through the ranks, eventually being selected for promotion to Warrant Officer First Class, and after a spell as Garrison Sergeant Major at Edinburgh Castle, I took on the role Regimental Sergeant Major of the Queen’s Own Highlanders, the first Scouser ever to do so.”

However that would just be the start of a career that would see him travel around the world, with stints in the UK, Sharjah, Germany, Hong Kong, Belize, Kenya, and the USA – including five operational tours of Northern Ireland and one operational tour in the Gulf.

Following his retirement from the Army, he began employment as a Practice Manager at a busy Fife GPs, taking early retirement in 2013 after 17 years.

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Retirement allowed George to give something back to the service as he volunteered with SSAFA, first as a volunteer caseworker and then as chair in 2018. The role saw him become chair of one of the country's busiest branches.

Upon receiving his SSAFA Regional Award, George said: “I’m proud, if a little dumbfounded, to receive this award. I still do regular casework, so I know those that we help, either regulars, veterans, or their families, remain eternally grateful for all the hard work that our SSAFA volunteers carry out on their behalf, and I am so honoured to be part of this great organisation that’s a significant cog in providing support and advice to the Armed Forces community.”