I look around the estate, see my fellow Veterans and I know how lucky I was.

At 18 I found myself sitting in the local Armed Forces Recruiting Office and I left signed up for the Royal Highland Fusiliers. In 1968 I was deployed to Gibraltar. General Franco ha ordered the closure of the border between Spain and I was sent on frontier duties. It was here my military career would take a change in direction. As I’m sure you can imagine military accommodation isn’t a five-star resort. My plastic bunk mattress didn’t have any linen on it. One night, whilst asleep, the mattress formed a suction to the side of my head due to the heat. Instead of puncturing the mattress to relieve the suction I was pushed down and upon rising my eardrum burst. Not one to give up, I advanced through the ranks to Lance Corporal. After nine months in Gibraltar, I spent time in the Regimental
Police and the Armoury. Due to hearing loss and suffering a collapsed lung, I was medically discharged in 1969.

In 2006 I received a phone call that would make mine and my wife’s future so much brighter. Erskine had offered us a cottage.

Once back in “civvy-street” I married my childhood sweetheart Pat. Fast forward a few years, I found work at the Erskine Pine Factory. Every day I’d walk past some quaint cottages. I asked my colleagues about them and was surprised to hear they were for Veterans. The stairs in our flat were beginning to prove difficult for Pat – a cottage was the perfect solution. I put my name down on the list and waited.

In 2017 life in the Veterans Village got even better when the Erskine Activities Centre opened. The centre is wonderful, especially to my fellow Veterans who are living with conditions like PTSD. The difference it has made to them on a day to day basis is unbelievable. I enjoy the archery, and Tai Chi classes. I even got to turn my hand to some DIY by decorating our new big hut. We have ‘spouses and carers’ days once a month – it means Pat can come along too which is great. She also loves the Christmas and Hogmanay celebrations at the centre.

If you happened to have seen the Erskine TV advert you may recognise me as “Mr Henderson”. I have many roles in life; a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.