Andrew was a week late in joining the Royal Marines Band Service, having had to wait impatiently until his 16th birthday to meet up with his fellow recruits. In 1976, he passed out of training with the Royal Marines Corps of Drums, receiving the Premier Drum Company award for Best Drummer.
In 1989, he tragically lost 11 friends when the IRA bombed the Royal Marines Band room at Deal Barracks in Kent.
On leaving the service, he struggled with his mental health and battled addiction. During this time, he busked to make money and, on better days, taught classical guitar lessons and played music gigs at weddings.
Andrew’s son helped him through this tough period and they spent precious time exploring and cycling to new places. During Covid lockdowns, he called his bike a ‘lifesaver’. However, in September 2021 the bike was stolen from his shed. It was not insured and, unable to afford to replace it, he returned to his ‘old ways’ and ‘toxic friends’. He began drinking heavily again, and his mental health deteriorated rapidly; he was bereft and overwhelmed by his situation and could see no way out.
A friend suggested contacting RMA – The Royal Marines Charity to see if there was any help we could offer. Our Casework Manager took the call from a distressed Andrew and, together with the Royal British Legion, got the necessary paperwork done to purchase a replacement bike.
He can now go out and about again with his son, has made new healthy friends in the mountain bike community, has given up alcohol, cigarettes (and vapes) and, having updated his website, too, is back playing and teaching guitar.
Andrew says that the help, encouragement and support from the Charity have been invaluable to him. “Brilliant news… a fantastic start to the year.”