Former Mansfield soldier and Kirkby business lend a helping hand

NMAC11-3064-1'Former soldier Ashley Clarkson.
NMAC11-3064-1'Former soldier Ashley Clarkson.

A FORMER soldier has joined forces with the Kirkby firm where he works to improve the quality of life for another ex-serviceman.

Ashley Clarkson (23), from Mansfield, left the Army in April this year and has secured a job at Jet Joinery, based on New Line Road.

After getting in touch with the Royal British Legion, he was able to help ex-Grenadier Guard John Good, who lives in Kilburn, near Belper, by providing fuel to heat his home.

Earlier this month, Ashley, with the help of the British Legion, arranged for off-cuts of timber to be delivered to Mr Good’s home.

Describing the moment he handed over the wood, Ashley said: “He was over the moon. He couldn’t thank us enough.

“Gifts like that should go a long way - it’s about giving something back to the community.”

Eric Trompos, who owns Jet Joinery, said: “It’s a way of giving something back to people who have helped us.

“Ash is working for us and he’s a good lad. He put this idea forward and we were more than happy to back him.”

Mr Good undertook tours of Northern Ireland, Hong Kong, Germany and Kenya during five-and-a-half years in the Army up to 1980.

But he has been unable to work because of an ankle injury he suffered while looking for work and was surviving on £64 per week benefits until he got help from the Legion.

He only has a wood burning stove and has not been able to collect wood because of his injury - so the donation of timber from Ashley and Jet Joinery will help him keep warm this winter.

Ashley, who joined the Army in 2005 and served with the Royal Logistics Corps, says that many former soldiers struggle when they leave the forces.

“I know lots of people who have come out of the Army and gone back in because they have struggled,” he said.

“It’s a lot harder than you think because in the Army, everything is sorted for you.”

He left because, having joined at such a young age, he wanted to experience civilian life.

He said: “I had travelled all over Europe and Iraq. I thought while I was still young I wanted to experience new things.

“I left school and went straight into the Army.”

But the comradeship Ashley learned in the Army has not left him.

“It’s about looking out for each other. We’ve got to stick together,” he said.

“And it’s not just ex-forces. If just taking bits of timber can help that chap, then it’s something we should all be doing.”