Fife armed forces volunteer receives prestigious recognition
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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.
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 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.
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.”