Meet the Board
I am a Royal Marine Veteran with personal experience of living with PTSD.
I suffered a breakdown in February 2019 and was signed off from work. My rescue dog, Sam, who was a bit of a handful when I got him but has turned out to be an amazing dog, looked into my eyes and gave me a reaction that I'd never seen before.
I wanted people to feel the same emotions I feel when I am with my dogs, and benefit from their healing powers as I have, so in September 2020 I formed A Veteran's Best Friend. We are staffed entirely by volunteers and rely completely on donations - with your help we can start training our Assistance dogs and veterans in 2021.
Mick Cairns - Chair
My interest in supporting A Veteran’s Best Friend comes from having a son who is a Sergeant serving with the Royal Marines and a brother who was with the RAF Police for more than 20 years.
I studied Hotel Management at Robert Gordons in Aberdeen and then completed an HNC in Accountancy and Financial Management at evening classes, this led to 2 years in a local accountant.
I then spent 20 years working for a large financial institution completing various roles such as team manager in regulated and non-regulated areas before spending the last 5 years in a role of PMO preparing reports which the senior colleagues within the bank used to keep themselves informed on the strategic plans the bank had agreed at the beginning of the financial year.
I have become a keen gardener during lockdown growing vegetables for the first time, this year I am adding a few more varieties.
I will be looking for a couple of fund-raising ideas to complete to raise funds for AVBF towards the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022, if I can complete Sleep in the Park and wake up with frost on my sleeping bag and do the Edinburgh Moonwalk (with my husband also wearing a decorated a bra) I will give most things a consideration.
Alison Kershaw-Stevenson - The Treasurer
I joined RAF in 1971. Joined RAF Mountain Rescue in 1977. Started with SARDA in 1988 training search dogs for mountain rescue. Completed 24 years in RAF. Completed 42 years in mountain rescue. I am currently a training officer for my current team . I have many commendations from RAF and was awarded chief constables commendation in 2009 followed by MBE in the same year and my search dog Driesh sadly passed away after receiving commendation by PDSA after saving 10 lives but went on to find another 3 people. As part of my team I work as a first responder for ambulance service fire service and coast guard and police Scotland to help find missing people. I also externally assess search dogs and handlers from other USAR teams when requested.
I am also proud to say that I brought my grandson up who is a Royal Navy engineer on submarines. My father was in the Royal Navy during the Second World War.
I wanted to Join the A Veteran’s Best Friend Team because as a veteran myself I want to help veterans in any way I can. Dogs are therapeutic and it’s a good way to put something back into our ex military personnel who are struggling and I have enough life skills and I understand what it’s like to be in the military. With my medical qualifications and my suicide assist and now mental health first aid. All this can benefit our veterans who may be suffering.
Rod Stoddart - Dog Training Lead/Secretary
Meet Our Ambassador
I am originally from Cowdenbeath, Fife, Scotland. I lived there until 1989, aged 22, to join the Royal Air Force (RAF). I spent 22 years in the RAF
Since the the year 2000, I have been fundraising and until now have helped raise approximately £90,000 for over 30 separate charities.
My most recent project has seen me write 2 books with all the proceeds going to charity. My first book, called Queenie, went to a children's cancer charity in Cupar, Toby’s Magical Journey and to date has raised over £2,500! My second book, called Scrambled with Care, is going to a charity, Erskine, which looks after our countries veteran's and at present has raised over £3,500!
Buy books using the link below
Currently, I work as a Production Engineer for TechnipFMC in Dunfermline. I am chairperson on both our charity committees. Employees fund where employees voluntarily contribute money each month and this is matched by our employer for local charities to ask for help.Second is a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) fund which is a duty as a business to help our local area.
So brings me to today where being asked to be an Ambassador for this charity blew me away! I am so delighted and excited to get stuck in and make this what it deserves to be, a brilliant success measured by our veterans well being.
“if we can just make one veteran sustain a better life then we have achieved our aim, if we can help more than one then we have excelled ourselves”
Remember though we can only be a success with your assistance to make this happen
The Ambassador - Brian Taylor