Ian Cumming MBE, RAF Veteran & CEO Erskine


Manage episode 321139545 series 2813344
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“I joined the RAF during the Cold War in 1986… around the time of Frankie Goes to Hollywood and the threat of… thermo-nuclear war.”

After going down the pilot route, it became apparent where Ian was more suited, “…the RAF Regiment who seemed larger than life… I met their Commanding Officer who had an unusual approach to dealing with banter in the bar, which normally involved throwing pilots out of windows and I was just kind of smitten… (laughs)”

So, about that banter, “The RAF Regiment gets a lot of ribbing from the Army and the Marines, but they really have made a profession of force protection… in that day it was ground defence, air defence, nuclear, biological, chemical defences and they were very good at it…”

Ian gives us the low down on working hard and playing hard in the Caribbean, “…that was a boys’ own adventure… crashing hangovers on a Saturday morning when the troops expected you to take them out on their compulsory R&R, lots of bouncing around on speed boats, swearing you would never drink again and then 10 minutes of lying on the sand in the sun, beads of sweat coming out, "I could murder a pina colada..."

Working with the RAF Police was followed by tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, “…it was complex, my air responsibility was about 650 square kilometres… it was challenging.”

Having left the RAF after 27 years and getting through the difficulties of transition, Ian’s civilian career began and he’s now the CEO of Erskine, “…one of Scotland's oldest, probably biggest and most iconic Veterans' charities… formed in 1916 as a… hospital for limbless sailors and soldiers… physically and mentally shattered from industrial scale warfare in the Naval and trench battles of WWI.”

As part of their recovery, “…we were helping them find new jobs, teaching them skills, carpentry, boot-making... making new prosthetic limbs for their brothers in arms who were returning… a holistic approach.”

Today, with over a hundred years’ experience, Erskine’s holistic and innovative approach continue to make Erskine a leading light in Veterans’ care and Ian will tell you all about it. All that’s left for us to say is, with Ian’s exciting ideas and new projects underway, wouldn’t it be great to see Erskine south of the border too – perhaps we’ll put it to him.

Hosted by Steve Bomford and Mike Davis-Marks.
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This podcast is supported by the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity.

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