Love in the Army Chapter 20
Head chef Gavin Robins was working late at Coldbrooke hall. He had been helping his team prepare a special meal for the bigwigs at the legion which was taking place tomorrow. The legion were celebrating Coldbrooke hall's twentieth anniversary.
The last of his colleagues had left about ten minutes ago. Gavin left the kitchen and locked up. He was making sure that the breakfast was prepped for the morning before leaving. He went into the dining room and set up the board for the menu.
Gavin was satisfied the dining room was ready and left as he was heading out he spotted one of the newer resident s struggling to push his wheelchair into the lounge. Gavin knew better than to interfere but watched as the young man stopped by one of the tables and sat there looking out of the window.
Gavin walked in and went over and sat down next to him.
"Bad day mate?" Gavin asked
The lad turned round and said "what's it to you?"
Gavin looked at the lad and said "just making sure you are ok I know what it is like to be here all alone"
"Yeah right of course you fucking do it is not you stuck in a fucking wheelchair is it?" the lad snapped back
"Well no I was lucky I wasn't in a wheelchair but I was an inpatient here before I worked here" Gavin replied
"Yeah of course you were" the lad replied
"I am Gavin Robins and I was injured in Afghanistan nearly two years ago and I saw my best mate from home die in front of me" Gavin replied
The lad looked at Gavin and said "oh ok well I am Sergeant Nathan Johnson I was injured a few months ago and as you can see I am stuck in this chair and according to the docs my injuries mean that I will never walk unaided again"
"like I said I was lucky really but then when I got home I had a real hard time and ended up sleeping rough I was eventually found by someone from the legion and he realised that I was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and with his help I was sent here as an inpatient" Gavin said
"well it the same for me my marriage fell apart after my accident my wife just walked out after seeing my injuries and told me that I was no longer man enough for her" Nathan said
"What a bitch" Gavin said
"Yeah she is and she won't let me see my son which is killing me but the combination of that and my injuries pushed me to the edge and one night I tried to take my own life" Nathan said
"Oh hell I know I hit rock bottom a few times when I was sleeping rough and had thought of suicide but I managed to get out of those thoughts" Gavin said
"yeah I had had the thoughts a few times before that night but I had a huge row with the bitch and one of my mates who was injured the same time as me died that day and I just lost it and if it hadn't been for a nosy neighbour I wouldn't be here now" Nathan said
"Nothing is worth taking your own life" Gavin said
"I am going to speaking to Ryan Huggins tomorrow" Nathan replied
"Ryan is a great guy he helped me and my partner a lot since we both were here" Gavin said
"Well I haven't met him yet but Ben my physio said he is one of the best" Nathan said
"Anyway is there anywhere I can get something to eat I was late coming back from physio and the dining room had closed" Nathan said
Gavin smiled and said "umm what would you like?"
"Well I fancy a bacon and egg roll" Nathan replied
"Ok I am sure I can rustle up that for you I will be back soon" Gavin said
Gavin was soon cooking bacon on his trusty range cooker and frying an egg.
Gavin grabbed a plate nearby and plated the food.
Gavin found the freshly baked rolls and took one and sliced it. He then loaded the bacon and placed the egg on top and placed the roll lid on top and took it to Nathan.
Nathan saw the bacon roll and said "wow that looks nice"
"Well enjoy it and leave the plate on the table when you finished I had better make a move" Gavin said
"Ok thanks see you again" Nathan replied
"Yeah I am here most days if I am not out on the floor I am behind the scenes in the kitchen preparing meals" Gavin said
"Thanks Gavin it has been nice talking to you and thanks for this" Nathan said
"No problem all part of the service" Gavin said
Gavin left Nathan eating his bacon roll in the lounge and headed out to his Morris minor and left Coldbrooke heading home.
The next morning
Gavin arrived at Coldbrooke at 4am to start getting breakfast for the residents. His deputy former army chef Sam Hopson was already in the kitchen.
"Morning boss" Sam shouted as Gavin walked in
"Morning Sam everything ok this morning?" Gavin asked
"Yeah apart from Catherine phoning in sick again everything is going to plan" Sam said
"Well there is a surprise think it is time I spoke to her about her sickness and time keeping record" Gavin said
"that's for sure she has phoned in three times in the last two weeks and it is always when she is on the early shift" Sam said
"Yeah and she was late yesterday again" Gavin said
"So will we need to cover her shift or should we be ok?" Gavin asked
"Well she was only rotated for the breakfast shift today so with you me and Jean we should be ok" Sam replied
"Well let's get cooking" Gavin said
Breakfast was soon in full swing with residents coming and going for the next few hours Gavin was busy but he did see Nathan come in for breakfast.
After breakfast was finished Gavin Sam and the rest of his team started to prepare the tables in the lounge reading for the celebration meal that was taking place. Coldbrooke was used to holding events but this one was getting Gavin's nerves going. He was worried that the meal wouldn't be up to the scratch. Gavin and Sam were soon joined by the team of staff scheduled to be there and the kitchen was soon working like the well oiled machine it always is.
Alice was fussing making sure everything was tidy and walked into the lounge and saw the beautifully turned out table and smiled. She then went into the dining room and spotted that Gavin had already prepared the room for resident's lunch. She then went and checked that the family room area was tidy and then met up with Ben and Ryan for a final check.
Ben was standing on the steps at the front of Coldbrooke with Ryan Alice and Gavin when the cars bringing the VIPs started to arrive. Ben smiled when he noticed the first car was Tom Jon Dunnet Paul Dexter and Todd from the Military support unit. The second car was Lord Harold Newlan and his wife Catherine. Lord Harold is the newly appointed head of the legions care centres and it was his first visit to Coldbrooke hall.
The next car was members of the board that runs Coldbrooke Hall the third car was Lee and Diane Thomas and the final car was Lady Jayne and Lord Phillip Dobson and Lady Helena Taylor.
The VIPs were greeted by Alice and she welcomed them all to Coldbrooke.
The VIPs were then given the grand tour and finally they all headed into the main lounge and were escorted to their seats.
Lord Harold stood up and said "my lords ladies and gentlemen thank you for coming today. When I took over this role recently I quickly realised that we at the Royal British Legion are very lucky to have the best in their fields working for us. Coldbrooke Hall is one of 12 such sites that I have taken charge of. This is the first one I have visited so far but talking to Alice Bonner and her team here today has been an eye opening experience for me. I have also noted some things that were mentioned to me by Alice and her heads of departments. Lady Helena Taylor and her board members have already been briefed about some major works that will be taking place here shortly. So without further ado I ask Lady Helena to take the floor".
Lady Helena stood up and said "thank you Lord Harold when Coldbrooke Hall opened twenty years ago it was planned as a residential care home for injured and retired soldiers however events changed and there was a need for a rehabilitation unit and so those plans were scrapped. Over the years Coldbrooke hall had become the flagship rehab centre for us at the legion which it still remains it has helped countless former and current serving military personnel. However we on the board and Alice Bonner have all noticed that the place has started to look its age and in parts are in need of a major refit. It is with great pleasure that the board can today announce that Coldbrooke Hall is going to have a 2.2 million pound refit to bring it up to modern day standards and a further half million pound has been raised from public donations to allow us to finally get the new gym and hydrotherapy unit we have been wanting."
The whole room erupted into applause.
"I now ask Alice Bonner to fill it the final details of this major revamp"
Alice stood up and walked to the front and said "the work will be done is phases to try and keep the upheaval to a minimum. Phase one will be the construction of a badly needed new kitchen and dining facilities. This will be built on top of the old disused swimming pool. Phase two will be the refurbishment of the bedroom facilities and the lounge facilities. There will also be a second lounge constructed where the current dining room and kitchen are. Phase three will be the new wing with a further 10 care beds and the new gym physiotherapy and hydrotherapy units. The fourth and final phase will be a new car park and new indoor swimming pool and spa and the refurbishment of the consulting rooms and back offices"
"I now ask retired Colonel Tom Rees and Lee Thomas to come up front to make another announcement.
Tom and Lee walked up and Tom stood up and took the microphone and said "thank you Alice. Lee came to me in my capacity as the local head of the military support unit to see if there was a way for us to help the many ex military personnel who after they leave the military feel like they have been thrown on the scrapheap well Lee came up with an idea and we at the military support unit are supporting the idea. I will ask Lee now to explain his plans.
"thank you Tom I am one of the lucky ones when I was injured I arrived here at Coldbrooke and received the best care I met some great people here including my wife Diane but unfortunately we can't help everyone and some people do slip through the system. It is these people that this new project is hoping to help with the support of the legion I have set up a not for profit company which will employ ex military personnel. We will be heavily involved in the building of the new wing and the refurbishment of Coldbrooke hall my plan is to have as many ex military personnel as I can get to work here. I will be working alongside these people as the project manager we currently have sixty people signed up to the scheme and if this project is a success I hope we will be able to pick up more work thank you."
There was more applause
Lady Helena stood back up and said "my lords ladies and gentlemen I have been proud to head the board of trustees for Coldbrooke since it opened and in those years I have had the pleasure of working with many fantastic people. We have had our ups and downs over those years and nearly closing a couple of years ago was one of those downs. During that terrible time I was really taken aback by the sheer determination of Alice Bonner Ben Rees Andrews Ryan Huggins and the then deputy head chef Gavin Robins to make sure that the residents here still had the best care they deserved it is people like these that we must be grateful for because if it wasn't for them we wouldn't have the great place we now have so my lord ladies and gentlemen please raise your glasses for a toast "to Alice Ben Ryan and Gavin long may the team continue"
Gavin left the lounge a short time later and headed back to his kitchen. He soon had all the food ready to be served and headed back to the party. The serving team who had been brought in to serve walked in behind Gavin.
The meal went down really well and Gavin was given a lot of praise from the group. Gavin being his usual self said it was his deputy Sam and most of his team that had put in the hard work.
The VIPs left a while later and Gavin had called his team together to thank them for their hard work in preparing the meal alongside the normal lunchtime rush. He also filled the team in on the new plans for a new kitchen and dining room.
Ben was with Tom and Lee in the lounge moving the tables so that the lounge could be back in use ASAP. Gavin rejoined them as well as Ryan and Alice and between them they soon had it back to normal. Most of the residents were using the family area while the lounge was closed or were sat out in the grounds as it was a sunny day.
A few days later
Gavin pulled into the drive of Coldbrooke and immediately spotted that there was a lot of activity going on. There were vans and trucks everywhere he pulled his car to a halt and waited as a truck carrying portacabins reversed alongside the building near to the disused swimming pool. Gavin spotted Lee was directing the trucks on where to go. Gavin got his car into the front car park and parked up away from the trucks to make sure they didn't damage his beloved car. Gavin watched as the crane parked nearby lifted the portacabins into place. Ben arrived shortly after and walked over to Gavin and said "this place is going to a madhouse for the next few months mate"
"Well I hope these builders don't take all the parking spaces this car park is far too small as it is" Gavin said
"No all the builders' vehicles are not allowed to park in this or the overspill side car park they will have to use their compound" Ben said
"Oh right well it looks like they are not listening there are at least eight park here now" Gavin said
"Yeah I can see that I will speak to Lee about that now" Ben said walking towards Lee
Lee spotted Ben and said "hey mate everything ok?"
"Well yes but I thought we agreed no builders to park in our car parks?" Ben asked
"Yes we did why?" Lee asked
"Well there are at least seven builders vans parked in the front car park mate" Ben said
"Oh right I will sort that" lee said
"Thanks mate" Ben said
"That's my job keep the client happy" Lee said
"Well I will let you get on"
The vans were removed shortly after. Lee also had signs saying "NO Building Works parking in this car park all building staff to park in compound parking area only"
The place soon resembled a building site with scaffolding and Lorries delivering materials back and for all day. The whole back area of grounds was fenced off as well as the construction of the new kitchen and dining room got underway.
Some patients were moved from rooms at the back of the building to the other side to stop them being disturbed by the ongoing building works others didn't mind and some of the less badly injured actually started to help as part of Lee's program.
But life at Coldbrooke had to carry on as best as it could as the work continued. Work started on the lounge shortly after the new dining room and kitchen had been handed over to Gavin and his team. Gavin watched as the builders ripped out the old equipment in the old kitchen and dining room and was amazed on how big the room looked now it was empty. The second lounge soon took shape with new comfy chairs and wooden floor and new smaller area with a TV in so that the residents could sit and watch together. A corridor had also been constructed to give access to the new restaurant dining area.
Ben was amazed on how quick the new wing was going up
In south Wales
Jake Edwards has been back on the frontline for the ambulance service for a few months now and felt like he had never been away. Jake had never started another relationship with fellow paramedic Justin and was still single. He was still friends with Justin and saw him now and again when they met at hospital while dropping patients off etc. Justin had transferred to a different station. Jake was having a bad day his first shout was to an old man that had suffered a heart attack and despite Jake trying his hardest the patient died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.
Jake and his work partner Sarah were called out to a car accident on a nearby notorious accident black spot. They arrived within a few minutes and were faced with a scene of chaos. Jake was soon in the thick of it as he and Sarah tried to keep a young lad calm while the fire service got him out of the wreckage of his parents car.
Finally after a little while the lad was free and after a full assessment by Jake he was on his way to the local hospital.
Jake and Sarah wheeled the lad into the hospitals accident and emergency department and read out his vitals and handed him over to the department staff.
Another ambulance arrived with another patient from the accident.
Jake and Sarah were now off duty and had handed over to another crew and were leaving the ambulance control office in the hospital together.
Edward Mortimer or Ed as he likes to be called has been working at the hospital for a while as a porter. He had just finished for the day when he spotted the hot paramedic he had seen around the hospital a few time. It looked like the paramedic was also finished for the day and smiled as he saw Jake and Sarah go their separate ways.
Jake went into the cafe and bought himself a coffee to go. He walked out and saw Ed. Jake smiled and thought "wow he is hot"
Ed smiled back and said "you look like you have had a hard day mate"
"Yeah it hasn't been the best to be honest i lost a patient and have had a few shitty call outs today" Jake replied smiling
"Yeah I bet you job must be difficult" Ed said
"Yeah it can be sometimes" Jake said
Ed was feeling brave and said "umm i was wondering if you would like to go for a drink or something?"
Jake smiled and said "that would be nice"
Ed smiled back and said "well we could go back to my place and i could cook something up if you like?"
Jake smiled and said "that sounds good to me"
The lads walked from the hospital to Ed's flat which was in a converted building near the hospital.
Ed led Jake into his apartment and Jake grabbed hold of Ed and started to kiss him. Ed was surprised but was smiling as Jake kissed him. Ed led Jake into his bedroom and said "that's just what I am hungry for" laughing
9 months later
Coldbrooke halls refurbishment program has finally reached its end. The newly extended car park behind the laundry room was now in use. The whole place looked fantastic. The new restaurant as it was now called was a huge success and Gavin loved his new kitchen facilities. The new second lounge was also being used to his capacity. This has enabled the builders to repaint the old lounge and the furniture in there has all been replaced. Ben and his team were really taken aback at the fantastic new wing and they were now using the new hydrotherapy unit daily. On top of that all the physio equipment has been replaced with new state of the art equipment and the gym equipment has also been renewed. The whole building looked new with his new coat of paint. Every bedroom has had a complete makeover.
Alice called a meeting of the management team.
Ben Ryan Gavin and Janet the housekeeper all arrived for the meeting
Alice said "so guys we have finally taken the building back from the builders this morning. There are a couple of things I need to speak to you about. The first is as you know we haven't had a head of nursing because of the budget cuts and I have been heading up the nursing as well as running this place day to day well good news our budget has increased with the extra work so we have been able to appoint a Nursing Services Manager and he will be here from tomorrow. He is a well experienced nurse who will fit into our team just fine have known Rhys a long time and I know his dedication will prove he is the right person for the job. Rhys Taylor Weston will be here from tomorrow and I know you will welcome him to our small management team.
Ben smiled and said "I still can't believe he quit the hospital"
"Now onto the second thing I need to speak to you about and this effects Gavin and his team, has you know we have the new restaurant which is now open longer hours than the old dining room. This means we need to man the kitchen for longer and Gavin has recently been involved with a project to open a small coffee shop in the Lee Thomas wing. This will be opening shortly and will mean that the families won't have to go to the restaurant to get drinks etc. What this mean is that Gavin will now oversee the whole catering department and his role will now be renamed as Catering Facilities Manager and his current deputy Sam Hopson will become head chef. Sam will report directly to Gavin.
"Over the next few days we will need to carry out a fire evacuation test so we will have to brief the whole team about that. This is to test the new fire alarm system and to make sure that the fire team are aware on how to use it correctly"
"Wow that will be a lot of work the last time we evacuated fully was the day of the old laundry fire and I sure don't want to go through that again" Ben said
"Well we have the sprinkler system since then and more fire exits have been added so hopefully we won't have a repeat of that terrible day" Alice said
"So that's why the laundry is in a separate building I always wondered why I have to walk a mile to get to the laundry" Janet said laughing
"Yeah it used to be where the Lee Thomas wing and the shop are" Alice said
"Well that space is better used now then" Janet said
"Yeah it was a fantastic idea of Gavin's to use that space as a family area and to extend the shop the original shop was way to small" Alice said
Gavin was really happy with his new role the only thing was that he now won't be in the kitchen but knew if needs be he could jump in and help. He has recently employed a couple of new staff who seem to the settling in well. Catherine has now left after she continued to be late or calling in sick all the time. Alice finally dismissed her after she failed to show one afternoon and lunch was served nearly an hour late. Gavin was furious that day and asked Alice to speak to her as she had completely ignored his warnings.
The next morning
Newly appointed Nurse Manager Rhys Taylor arrives at Coldbrooke for his first day. He pulled into the car park and immediately spotted a parking space had been reserved for him. He pulled into the space and noticed that he was next to Head Chef and the Catering Facilities Manager spaces. He spotted Bens car was parked in his space and the Morris minor parked in the catering manager's space. He walked through the door and spotted Ben talking to another member of staff.
Ben smiled and said "hi mate welcome to Coldbrooke hall"
"I am looking forward to the new challenge" Rhys said
"Well we can't promise it will be as busy as Selly oak but this place can get mad sometimes" Ben said
"Well that's good because that place had started to stress the hell out of me" Rhys said
"You made the right decision to get out mate" Ben said smiling
"I hope so" Rhys said
"Anyway mate it is my job to meet and greet you and to give you the grand tour today and to get you to meet your hard working team" Ben said
"Anyway this is Gavin Robins our catering facilities manager" Ben said
"Hi I am Rhys Taylor Weston" Rhys said smiling
"Pleased to meet you" Gavin said
"Rhys is Tom's adopted brother" Ben said
Rhys smiled and said "yeah that's what he calls me"
"Gavin was the young man Tom meet down in south Wales a couple of years ago and helped him get in here as a patient and now he runs our catering facilities" Ben said
"I think you met my son Matthew" Rhys said
"Yeah I did when he came to see a patient here" Gavin said
Gavin smiled and said "right well welcome aboard I better get to the kitchens and make sure everything is going smoothly Sam is off today his wife has a scan so I am in the kitchen today"
"I was wondering why you were in your chefs outfit" Ben said smiling
"You know me can't keep my hands off" Gavin said smiling
Gavin walked away and Rhys said "he is a nice guy"
"Yeah he is and he is a workaholic" Ben said smiling
"So what does Shaun think of your quitting the hospital?" Ben asked
"He was surprised when I told him I had decided to quit but he supported my decision" Rhys said
"Yeah well at least now you can maybe spend some time together away from work" Ben said
"Yeah that's true" Rhys said
Rhys soon settled into the routine at Coldbrooke and had met all his nursing staff. He met with Alice and she went through the rotas and the availability issues of all the nursing team so that Rhys was aware before he starts to do the new rotas
A few days later
Tom arrived at Coldbrooke for the first time since the refurbishment he was meeting with a young sailor who has just been pensioned off by the royal navy. Able seaman Luke Hills was injured on board a naval ship which was out on patrol for pirates off the coast of Somalia. He had fallen overboard and broke his back. His spinal cord was so badly damaged in the fall that he will never be able to walk unaided again.
Ben and his team have been helping Luke with his rehabilitation and he is trying to get his life back on track.
Tom walked in and smiled when he noticed that the ancient old reception desk had gone and been replaced with a new modern one. Tom walked over and said to Kathy the receptionist "morning Kath I am here to see able seaman Luke hills"
Kath smiled and said "morning Tom haven't seen you for a while" as she tapped on her keyboard "Luke is in room 45 that's upstairs in the new wing"
"Ok thanks Kath" Tom said as he headed to the new wing. Tom spotted Gavin and one of his lads pushing a trolley towards the lee Thomas wing and said "hi Gavin"
Gavin smiled and said "hi Tom"
"What have you got there?" Tom asked
"Oh it's the cakes for the new coffee shop in the Lee Thomas wing" Gavin said
"Oh yeah Ben told me about that" Tom said
"Yeah it is doing well" Gavin said
"Well that's good anyway I m off the see a client in the new wing so I will see you later" Tom said
"Ok mate" Gavin said
Tom walked around the corner and saw the new look lounges and smiled he walked down the corridor past Bens office he looked in but Ben wasn't there so he carried on towards the lifts.
Tom finally found the room he was looking for and it was empty. Tom walked back out and went to the nearby nurse station. He immediately spotted Rhys and said "hey bro still can't get used to seeing you here"
"Hey what brings you here?" Rhys asked
"I am meeting a client Able seaman Luke Hills but he is not in his room" Tom said
"Well if he is not in there he is probably out in grounds painting he is our resident artist" Rhys said
"Ok well I think I passed him on my way in there was a young man painting down by the main entrance" Tom said
"Well that is probably your man" Rhys said
Tom laughed and said "ok I will trek back down then"
"Oh Tom did u tell you Jake has a man now?" Rhys asked
"Umm no" Tom said smiling
"Yeah a hot little number according to Jake" Rhys said smiling
"You met him yet?" Tom asked
"Yeah his name is Ed he works at the local hospital as a porter and Jake and him make a cute couple" Rhys said
"Well that is good news he could do with some happiness" Tom said
"He sure could" Rhys said
Tom said "well tell him I said good luck the next time you hear from him I'd better go and find this sailor"
"ok mate will do" Rhys said
Tom finally got to the main entrance and spotted the young man had gone with just the easel there.
Tom shook his head and went to reception and said "Kath did you see a young man with a canvas go past?"
"Yeah he went to the restaurant he said he was hungry" Kath said smiling
"Thanks Kath he is certainly giving me the run around this one" tom said laughing
Tom walked into the restaurant and spotted the young man sat at a table with two others. He walked over and said "Luke hills"
The young blonde haired lad smiled and said "that's me"
"Finally you have had me running round this place today" Tom said smiling "We spoke briefly on the phone last week I am Tom Rees from the legions military support unit"
"Oh I am sorry I completely forgot" Luke said
"Not to worry the exercise does me good" Tom said smiling
Tom spent the next couple of hours sorting out Luke with accommodation and financial support. He also made sure that Luke still had help with his rehabilitation. Tom then spoke to Luke about the possibility of him doing something with his artwork.
Luke has always been an artist and he loves the freedom to paint what he wants.
A couple of days later
Tom had been trying to sort out a place for Luke at an art college. Finally he had managed to place him in a local dedicated art school. Luke was taken aback when he heard that he will be joining Willton Art school .he had wanted to attend Willton straight from school but his parents told him that there wasn't any future in art and he needed to get a proper job so he joined the navy instead. Luke settled into life at sea but his relationship with his parents fell apart shortly after he went into the navy after he met his former partner Terry and he told then he was gay.
Luke and Terry's relationship ended a few months later and Luke has been single ever since. He just pushed himself in his work more and more until that fateful day when he was swept overboard. He will always be grateful to his mates Joe and Paul who helped him that night. If it wasn't for their quick actions Luke would have drowned. His injuries were so bad that he could just about stop himself from going under the water and the lads launched the lifeboat to get him back on board. He was airlifted from the ship and hasn't seen his mates since as they are still deployed and are not due back in the UK for a few weeks.
Tom knew that Luke wanted to thank his mates for their quick actions and set up a video call for him to the ship.
Able seaman Joe Clements and Petty Officer Paul Baxter were sat in the mess room on board and smiled as Luke came into view.
"Hi mate" Paul said smiling
"Hi guys nice to see you how are the lads?" Luke asked
"Yeah they are fine never mind them how are you?" Joe said smiling
"I am ok I have the best care possible here and hopefully I should be able to walk with sticks soon and then who knows" Luke replied
"Yeah well at least you are getting some help" Paul said
"Yeah the guys here are brilliant and I am still able to paint and best of all in September I will enrol at the local art school" Luke said smiling
"That's great news mate we miss seeing you taking photos on board for you to paint" Joe said
"Yeah I have painted quite a few of those views know I am hoping to sell a few as well" Luke said
"Yeah well I hope we will get to see them when we get back mate" Paul said
"Yeah sure will" Luke said
"So are you still going to be at that place when we get back or will you be moving elsewhere?" Joe asked
"well I am moving into my new accommodation near here in about three weeks but I will make sure Devonport know where that is so that you guys can come and visit" Luke said
"We will definitely be visiting mate" Paul said
Luke noticed a bit of activity in the background and then noticed that a few others were lined up behind the lads.
Paul then said "well Luke we better get back to work and we will see you soon"
"Ok mate keep safe all of you" Luke said
Luke smiled as the camera was lifted and scrolled down the group of lads standing behind. Paul the shouted three cheers for Luke
Luke laughed as the whole group erupted into three cheers
Joe smiled and shouted "bye Luke"
"Bye guys" Luke replied with a tear rolling down his face.
Gavin had started to notice that Nathan Johnson had started to get more and more depressed. Ryan has been trying to get through to him with one to one sessions with him. Gavin was walking along a corridor in the older building returning to the kitchen after taking meals to some of bed bound patients. There is a small roof garden off this corridor where some of the patients sometime sit. Gavin walked past the door to the garden and was surprised to see the door open as it was pouring down with rain outside. Gavin looked out and saw Nathan standing on the wall. Gavin slowly walked over towards Nathan and said "Nathan mate you ok?"
"Fuck off leave me alone" Nathan shouted
Gavin was getting worried that Nathan might do something stupid and backed up and went back into the building. He spotted staff nurse Harry Hutchings and shouted to him. Harry spotted the soaked Gavin and said "what's going on mate?"
"Find Ryan Huggins for me and get him up here now" Gavin said
"Its Nathan Johnson I worried he might do something stupid he is out there" Gavin said
"Oh hell ok" harry said
Gavin went back out to Nathan and slowly went back over to him thankfully he hadn't moved any closer to the edge
Gavin crept over and sat down next to where Nathan was standing and said "come on mate nothing is worth killing yourself for"
Nathan looked down at Gavin and said "look I told you to fuck off and leave me alone it is no one's business but my own"
Ryan arrived and saw Gavin sat next to Nathan. Ryan has dealt with several near suicides at Coldbrooke since he started here. Gavin was sat there making sure Nathan didn't jump but said nothing.
Nathan had been put on suicide watch in the last few days after he had received his divorce papers from his bitch of a wife. She was planning to remarry and also intended to let her new husband adopt Nathans son.
Nathan sat there for over an hour with Gavin and Ryan listening to him pours his heart out over what he had lost. Gavin said "well we need to get you a good solicitor and we need to make sure that whatever your soon to be ex wife plans that you get regular access to your son because whatever she thinks he is your son"
Nathan finally walked with Gavin and Ryan back to his room.
Gavin left him with Ryan and headed back to the kitchens.
Gavin knew who to call.
Tom was in his office when Paul Dexter knocked on the door and said "Tom Gavin Robins on line 3 for you"
"Oh ok thanks Paul" Tom said
"Hi mate long time no speaks" Tom said cheerfully
"Hi Tom sorry to call you I know you are busy but I was wondering if you look into a case of a young sergeant we have in."
Gavin explained the details of Nathans case to Tom. Tom listened to what Gavin was saying and was writing notes down.
"Right mate is Nathan under the care of the army family support unit?" Tom asked
"Umm no never seen anyone coming here to see him" Gavin replied
"Ok mate leave this with me and I will try and sort it out" Tom said
"Okie dokie" Gavin said
"Speak soon mate" Tom said
"Yeah mate" Gavin said
Tom finally got in touch with Nathans commanding officer. It was determined that as far as he knew he was in the care of the army fsu assigned to their unit. Tom thanked him for his help and asked who was in charge of the unit's fsu.
Tom picked up the phone again and rang the barracks again
"Good morning can you put me through to the army fsu please" Tom asked
"Certainly sirs one moment please" the voice replied
"Good morning Family support unit Sergeant Harrison speaking"
"Hi good morning I am Tom Rees and I am phoning from the Royal British Legions military support unit" Tom replied
"Good morning how can I help?" sergeant Harrison asked
"I have been asked by a colleague of mine at our rehabilitation unit at Coldbrooke hall to help an inpatient of theirs who I believe is assigned to your unit but doesn't seem to see anyone from the unit" Tom said
"Oh ok umm we don't actually have any of our men at Coldbrooke as we don't use that rehab unit" sergeant Harrison said
"Well the patient I am referring to is Sergeant Nathan Johnson he has been an inpatient at Coldbrooke for around six months" Tom said
"What Nathan is not supposed to be at Coldbrooke he was supposed to be moved on five months ago after we removed Coldbrooke from our list of approved rehab centres" Sergeant Harrison said
"Well he is still there and can I ask why has Coldbrooke been removed from the list?" Tom said
"I have no idea we were given a list of places we are allowed to use and we have to stick to that" Sergeant Harrison said
"Anyway getting back to Nathan we need to make sure he is getting the support he needs. He attempted suicide earlier this week. I also find it astonishing that the army fsu didn't even know where he was" Tom said
"Look Mr Rees we have a huge case load and we cannot be checking up on each and every patient" Sergeant Harrison replied
The comment made Toms blood boil and he said "excuse me but isn't the idea that the FSU is supposed to support the soldiers in its care well at least when I headed the unit it did"
"Well Mr. Rees like I said I have an ever increasing case load and to be honest it doesn't really have anything to do with the rbl and I would like you to but out of business you know nothing about" Sergeant Harrison said smugly
Tom was now fuming and said "excuse me do you know who you are talking to I am retired Colonel Tom Rees and for your information I do know what I am talking about because I headed the army fsu for a several years before I retired. Now Sergeant Harrison I will leave you get on but I will be speaking to someone in authority about the way that unit is looking after its patient's goodbye!" and slammed the phone down
Paul looked in and saw Tom was fuming and walked in and said "wow you got steam coming out of your ears mate"
Tom laughed and said "yeah I just had some whipper snapper of a sergeant tell me that I know nothing about the army fsu"
Paul laughed and said "wow I bet you told him"
"Too flipping right" Tom said laughing
Tom pulled up his telephone number list and keyed in a number
"Good morning General Taylor office" the person replied
"Good morning is General Taylor available please" Tom asked
"Yes sir who's calling please?"
"Retired Colonel Tom Rees" Tom replied
"One moment please"
"Good morning tom long time no speak" General Taylor replied
"Good morning Sir it has been a while" Tom said
"So what can I do for you Tom?" General Taylor
"Well to be honest sir I have just been speaking to a sergeant Harrison at Willton Barracks he is assigned to the fsu for the 5th company. We have an impatient at Coldbrooke hall who is a member of that unit and he has been totally abandoned by the fsu."
"Umm what do you mean abandoned?" General Taylor asked
"well sir Sergeant Nathan Johnson has been at Coldbrooke since a botched suicide attempt eight months ago and in the last five months he hasn't had a single visit or any contact from the army fsu and in fact the person I spoke to who personally wouldn't be in the fsu if I was still in charge told me that Nathan was transferred to different rehab centre five months ago. Nathan is still at Coldbrooke" Tom said
"Well Tom I take it this Sergeant Harrison didn't like it when you told him that Nathan was still at Coldbrooke" General Taylor said
"No he told me that he cannot keep track of all the cases they have assigned to them" Tom said
"really well Tom I can assure you that I will be speaking to his commanding officer about his attitude and I will personally make sure that this young man gets the care he deserves" General Taylor said
"One other thing sir why had Coldbrooke Hall been removed from the list of approved rehab centres?" Tom enquired
"Umm it hasn't been Tom we would never remove Coldbrooke hall it is one of top rehab centres in the UK who told you that?" General Taylor asked
"This sergeant Harrison told me that they no longer use Coldbrooke hall as it is not on their approved list" Tom said
"Tom what if we assigned Nathans case to you and you take over completely that way he gets the care he needs now and not have to wait for the fsu to sort itself out. Meanwhile I will start an investigation into the handling of his case and a full scale enquiry into that unit's fsu department"
"Thank you sir I am sorry I had to take this issue up with you" Tom said
"Not a problem at all Tom speak again soon" General Taylor said
Tom was in his office and hour or so later when a motorbike courier arrived. Todd signed the guys sheet and walked into tom office and said "this has just come for you Tom it looks like Nathan Johnson's army record.
"Thanks Todd" Tom said
Tom started to read the record and was surprised to see that Nathans first commanding officer was Matt and read that he thought highly of Nathan. His current commanding officer Major John Baker had wrote in his record that he was a great leader of men and that he would no doubt progress up the ladder.
Tom the read the report of the incident that Nathan was injured in and saw that Nathan had been commended for his bravery and if it wasn't his sheer determination more soldiers would have been injured or killed that day.
He was then shocked to find very little information about the care plan which Nathan should have been issued with. In fact apart from an initial entry handing over his care to the fsu there was nothing written in the file at all.
Tom called Paul in.
Paul came in and said "yes Tom"
"have a look at this its Nathan Johnsons record now he has been in the care of the army fsu for six months and we both know when we were in the fsu we had to keep the army records up to date well this one is definitely not up to date"
Paul looked at it and said "there nothing entered since the original assignment of Sergeant Andy Harrison"
"I can't believe he is allowed to get away with this shoddy work good job Todd isn't his admin he would have gone nuts by now" Tom said smiling
Paul laughed and said "too right but it wouldn't have never had happened in our day mate"
"No it certainly wouldn't have and we used to get new cases daily but we always made sure that clients were dealt with properly" Tom said
"Yeah" Paul said
"I think another call to General Taylor is needed" Tom said
"Yeah keep him updated" Paul said
Tom phoned General Taylor office but was told that the General was out on business so Tom left a message
Unbeknown to Tom General Taylor had already seen the record and was equally appalled at the lack of information on it. It had made him so angry that he had left his office and headed straight away to Willton barracks.
Major Barry Nightingale was sat in his office at Wilton barracks. Major Nightingale has recently taken the role of the head of the army fsu unit. He was slowly trying to sort out the backlog of paperwork left by his predecessor who had quit under a bit of a dark cloud. Barry also found his second in command hard to work with as he seemed to not care about the clients but was using the fsu as a stepping stone.
His assistant lance corporal Olivia Kaleen was in the outer officer when General Taylor walked in.
She immediately stood to attention
"At ease" General Taylor said
"Is major nightingale in?" General Taylor said
"Yes sir" Olivia said
General Taylor walked to the door and knocked
"Come in" Barry shouted
He stood and saluted as soon as General Taylor walked through the door.
"Sir what brings you here?" Barry asked
"Major Nightingale I know you have only recently taken command of this unit so I am not blaming you for this mess but this unit is a shambles. I have a long standing friend and former commanding officer of the whole fsu chewing my ear off this morning about a young soldier from this unit who hasn't had any contact from this unit in six months and to top it all some whipper snapper had the cheek to tell this well respected former commanding officer to but out of army business" General Taylor
"I can't agree more sir my predecessor didn't care less about paperwork and has left me with around two years paperwork to sort out. There are piles of files that need updating and it will take me months to sort it out unless I get some help" Barry said
"Major we both know your predecessor was useless and if I had had my way he would have been kicked out with a court martial but he decided to quit so our hands were tied but that doesn't help me with the fact that a young soldier has been left without support for six months and to top it all it seems that the fsu didn't even know where he was having his rehab treatment" General Taylor said
"well I will personally make sure that young man gets a written apology from me sir and I will assign someone to his case who will make sure he gets the right care plan in place" Barry said
"No need now the British Legion Military support service has taken over the case but I need a fully updated care plan for him because his records show no contact since the initial meeting between him and Sergeant Harrison" General Taylor said
"Yes Sergeant Harrison another deadwood we need to ship out to be honest" Barry said
"Don't worry Major he is on his way out not just this unit but the whole army he will be up on charges of failing to carry out duties" General Taylor
"Oh ok" Barry said
"Is he on base?" General Taylor asked
"Yes he is" Barry replied
General picked up the phone and rang the military police.
"Good afternoon this is General Taylor speaking can I have two Mp's over at the army fsu please"
"Yes sir for what reason"
"To assist in the arrest of a member of the unit on charges of failing to carrying out their duties" General Taylor said
A few minutes later sergeant Harrison was being taken out of the army fsu building in handcuffs.
A few days later
Major Nightingale arrived at Coldbrooke hall and pulled into the new offices of the military support unit within the grounds. Todd was down in the reception area when Barry arrived. The reception is manned by a volunteer and today it was a young former private Joshua Albert.
"Hi good morning can I help?" Joshua said smiling
"Good morning I have an appointment with Tom Rees Major Barry Nightingale" Barry replied
"Ok sir please takes a seat and I will inform Tom" Joshua said
Todd smiled and said "it's ok Josh I will take Major Nightingale through"
"Ok Todd" Joshua said
"Sir would you like to come this way I will take you to Tom's office" Todd said
"Ok" Barry replied
Todd showed Barry to the outer office and said "wait here for a minute I will let Tom know you are here"
Todd walked over to Tom's office and knocked on door
Todd said "come in"
"hi Tom Major Nightingale for you" Todd said
"Yes send him in" Tom replied
"Sir please come this way" Todd said
Barry walked through the door and said "sir it is nice to finally meet the legend that is Tom Rees"
Tom laughed and said "I don't know about that"
Barry said "believe me the army fsu wouldn't be held in such a high regard if it wasn't for the way it was run when you was in charge"
"Well I don't know nowadays there seems to be a lot of failures" Tom said
"yes talking about that i have just taken over this unit and believe me you wouldn't believe the way things were done before i took over my predecessor didn't believe in going out of his way to help people and as for paperwork boy it will take me months to sort out that mess" Barry said
"You can say that again I read that report on Nathan Johnson and both Paul Dexter another former boss of the fsu and me were in shock at the state of it" Tom said
"yes well I can't go into too much detail as you can understand but the whole team at the unit are currently under investigation and sgt Harrison is already due before a court martial within the next few weeks" Barry replied
"Yeah General Taylor told me that" Tom said
"Anyway we not here to discuss the failings of my predecessor and his team we here to discuss Sgt Johnsons care plan" Barry said
"That's right now Nathan has recently been having some issues with his soon to be ex wife. She is trying to stop him having any contact with his son. Now the rbl have sorted him out a good family lawyer and they are helping him with that so at least that will take some stress off him. He has been suffering terrible nightmares which the team at Coldbrooke have told me seem to be getting worse lately. He attempted another suicide which thankfully he was found by a member of staff before he could carry out that threat" Tom said
"Wow he seems to be in a terrible state" Barry said
"Yes this young man has been through hell but believe me Coldbrooke team will help him through it" Tom said
"yes that another issue I need to sort out General Taylor told me sgt Harrison said that this place had been removed from the list of approved centres well I looked into that and it seems that my predecessor did remove Coldbrooke without the knowledge of the army top brass." Barry said
"Well that is not hard to do really I did it when I was charge change things without their knowledge" Tom said
"Well Coldbrooke is now back on the list I found out some very important information about the new centre that he had added which I have passed onto the investigation team." Barry said
"Oh ok well I won't ask you about that as I know you can't say anything" Tom said
"No but I dare say the investigation team will be in touch about it" Barry said
"Umm why would they be in touch with me?" Tom asked
"Well it seems that it has something to do with an old investigation of yours" Barry said
"Oh ok well I will await their call" Tom said
"now back to Nathan we have found out from the report into the incident that he was not at fault but that doesn't stop him blaming himself for the loss of his comrades and i know from experience that losing people close to you can be difficult but Nathan has really taken it upon himself to take the blame" Tom said
"No I was reading his record yesterday while I sorted out the mess it is in. He is a brave young man and should be getting the best care and not the shoddy help he was getting from the fsu" Barry said
"Well he is getting it now and that's the main thing" Tom added
"Yeah so now we have this new care plan in place do I need to assign an officer to his case or is your department taking it over full time? Barry asked
"Umm well as far as I am concerned Nathan is now under our care so there is no need to have an officer assigned but maybe I can keep you updated on his progress on a monthly basis" Tom said
"Yeah that would work" Barry said
"So from what General Taylor was telling me the department is in a right mess" Tom said
"yes and I am out of my depth a bit to be honest I am a new commanding officer and I feel I have been thrown in at the deep end. I cannot understand how he got away with it for so long and then for him to just retire and leave the shambles he has is beyond me" Barry said
"well as a former commanding officer all I can say is good luck because when I carried out a court martial into a failing commanding officer a few years ago it was difficult to see how that unit could come back from the brink but it did eventually but it took a hell of a lot of hard work" Tom said
"Yeah it will take a while but now with my new unit members on board we will sort it and with help from other units the files are being sorted" Barry said
"Well that's good that is one thing I will say about the fsu it always sticks together when there is a crisis" Tom said
"Oh who is in charge of the unit now?" Tom asked
"Well up until last week it was Colonel Rylan Matthews but he has been relieved of his command and at the moment we have lt colonel Tanya Jenkins in temporary charge". Barry said
"Not sure if I know her but I definitely don't know Colonel Matthews Tom said
"Tanya has come up throw the ranks but colonel Matthews was appointed after Colonel Trent retired" Barry said
"I knew Colonel Trent" Tom said
"Yeah he was a good guy I worked at Cheddam barracks and saw him quite a bit" Barry said
"Another former Cheddam guy" Tom said smiling
"Yeah I knew you were ex Cheddam" Barry said
"Yeah I had many an happy time in the officers mess there" Tom said
"So I take it you haven't heard the news then?" Barry asked
"No I haven't heard anything what's happening" Tom asked
"Cheddam is closing all the units are being moved to either Coninton or Greenick" Barry said
"Oh wow that will be an end of an era when it shuts but I suppose it is progress and coninton is a large base but Greenick barracks is a dump I hated going there" Tom said
"yeah I don't like that place either personally I think it should have been closed and Cheddam kept open but we all know that Cheddam is sitting on a huge piece of real estate and they will get millions for it" Barry said
"Yes they will" Tom said
"The officer's mess alone would sell for a million" Tom said
"Yeah and then they will demolish it and put hundreds of executive homes for people" Barry said
"No they can't demolish it. It is grade two listed so they would have to find a use for the actual building" Tom said
"Oh I never knew that I knew it was an old building but didn't know it was listed" Barry said
"Yeah it was listed when I was stationed there and I know it is a fantastic building my adopted nephew had his wedding reception there and I have been there several times for receptions". Tom said
"Well it will be sad to see the old place empty" Barry said
"Yeah it sure will be I was acting barracks commander there for a few months when the two unit commanders were killed out on operations in Afghanistan" Tom said
"Yeah the place has had its fair share of knocks over the years" Barry said
"Yes it sure has" Tom said
Later that day
Tom arrived home and was getting his briefcase out of the car when Ben pulled in.
"Hey babes you are early" Tom said smiling
"yeah thought I would finish early for a change as we have a busy few days coming up with the official reopening" Ben said
Tom smiled and kissed Ben and said "well it's nice to be able to spend some time with each other"
"Yeah definitely" Ben said
Tom and Ben walked into the house Tom switched the alarm off while Ben picked up the mail from the hall mat and looked at the front page of the local paper and said "oh fuck"
Tom said "what's wrong babes?"
Ben was in a state of shock and handed Tom the paper. Tom looked at the front page headline
"Serial rapist escapes from prison" Tom saw the photo and realised that it was Gary Timpson
"Oh fucking hell how has he escaped again" Tom said
"Well according to this he escaped when his escort van was ambushed while he and another prisoner were being transferred to another prison" Ben said
"It annoys me that twice that bastard has escaped from custody they really should keep him under lock and key" Tom said
"Yeah they should have thrown away the bloody key" Ben said
Jon had just finished his shift at the hospital and was walking home to his nearby flat. He has spoken to his partner Greg just before he left as Greg was on an opposite shift. Jon walked down the lane linking the hospital to the estate he lived on when he heard someone behind him. Jon just carried on walking but then someone put a knife to his throat and said "walk very slowly"
Jon freaked and said "please what do you want?"
Gary just pushed Jon into a disused house and said "shut the fuck up"
Gary then tied up Jon and said "if you want to live you will do exactly what i tell you"
Jon realised who had grabbed him and said "ok"
So guys some new drama for the Rees Andrews family. Will Jon survive or will Gary actually get his revenge that's all in the next chapter..............
This story is copyrighted © to myself its writer and cannot be copied in any way shape or form without my express written permission. This story is fiction and any resemblance to persons or events are purely coincidental. If you are underage or don't like stories of a homosexual nature, please leave now. Otherwise, please enjoy the story.
I welcome comments please send them toMikkiwriter@gmail.com
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