Selfless volunteer receives special praise from parliament

Date: 01/02/2024

Bradeley Village resident receives praise from MP for volunteering to support local veterans and their families.

65-year-old Mal from Bradeley Village does a lot for others in his spare time.

While being an involved customer sharing his experience as a tenant on our various customer boards and committees, Mal also volunteers for numerous organisations. Saying it’s his way of giving back after others supported him when he had his leg amputated six years ago.

He says his main passion is supporting veterans as it’s a cause close to his heart after serving in the British Military for over 25 years. He helps by offering support and guidance to people navigating life after service and has walked half marathons to raise money for veterans and their families.

His most recent venture has been to support a local organisation, clearing the gravestones of fallen soldiers which caught the attention of a local MP.

“My friends and I recently joined a charity called Commonwealth War Graves Society”, said Mal.

“It’s a local charity that makes sure fallen soldiers are remembered and honoured as they should. During my downtime, I volunteer with my good friends Chris and Trevor.

“There are over 130 forgotten graves in Burslem Cemetery and the charity gives us a map with an estimated location. It’s then our job to find them, clean the headstones, and clean up around the graveside too.

“We once came across the grave of an underage soldier, which instantly reminded us that these were once people with loved ones who cared for them, and they shouldn’t be forgotten.

“For whatever reason their family and loved ones don’t visit the graves, so it’s our job to make sure they’re honoured in the best way.”

This recent venture caught the attention of local MP Jonathon Gullis, who thanked Mal and his friends for their selfless dedication in parliament. 

Jonathon Gullis thanks volunteers in Stoke-on-Trent
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“Over the years I’ve done a lot for my community and because of that I’ve had the privilege of getting to know Jonathon Gullis”, continued Mal.

“I was speaking to him in passing about the work and he asked if he could come and visit to see us in action and find out more about the charity. Which he did later that month.

“A couple of weeks passed and then I saw he’d given me, Chris and Trevor a special mention in Parliament. He thanked us for our hard work and commitment to supporting veterans in Stoke-on-Trent in his address to the secretary of state."

Jonathon's kindness didn't stop there, he also invited Mal and his comrades to visit parliament to have a tour and have afternoon tea with Jonathon Mercer. 

(Pictured: Jonathon Gullis, Mal and his comrades) 

“I saw the video and couldn’t believe it. It was such a surreal moment. Never in my life did I think I would get a special mention in parliament.

"He then also invited us to meet Jonathon Mercer to share all about the work we'd been doing and to talk about the struggles veterans face after service. 

"I never set out for any glory. I volunteer to help people, like all those who did for me six years ago. The help and support I received changed my life, and by volunteering now I feel like I'm doing my bit to give back."

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