Alan Kennedy joined up to serve in the army shortly after leaving school, looking for a change of direction after a stint working in a frozen foods warehouse. While he was initially heading for the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, he ended up in the Royal Scot’s, one of the oldest and most senior infantry regiments in the British Army.

“I was in the Infantry commonly referred to as cannon fodder as it was our job to be first into any battle!”

Alan started his time with the Royal Scots by serving in Belfast in 1988, an experience he describes as “Terrifying, very scary”. Next Alan was off to Albuhera Barracks, Werl, Germany where they stayed for two years as part of the Cold War defence.

What happened next was life changing for Alan. On 21 December 1988 Pan Am flight 103, a flight of a passenger airliner operated by Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, after a bomb was detonated. All 259 people on board were killed, and 11 individuals on the ground also died.

Many rescue services were sent to Lockerbie. They included a squad from the Royal Scots of whom Alan was one. It was an experience that has scarred him for life and still affects him to this day 33 years later.

It took 32 years for Alan to be diagnosed with PTSD which he suffers as a result of the incident and his time spent at the crash site.

Alan became a recluse for two years he didn’t venture out despite his friends and family trying to help. Then Venture Trust came along. Venture Trust supports people struggling with mental health and wellbeing as well as many other areas. The team took Alan to Loch Awe for a week of canoeing and outdoor activities. However the best help they gave was when they introduced Alan to Erskine.

On meeting Debs Dickson, Manager of the Erskine Reid Macewen Activity Centre, Alan declares his life changed. 

Erskine was a complete live saver for me, it gave me a purpose in my life. I attend the Centre on Tuesdays and Thursdays and take part in as much as I can.