Hampshire County Council’s Armed Forces Champion has congratulated a council information analyst on being awarded the Queen’s Volunteer Reserves Medal in the New Year Honours list.
Adrian Keeble has been awarded the medal for exemplary Army Reserve service with 71st (City of London) Signal Regiment, rising to the highest non-commissioned rank of Warrant Officer Class 1.
Councillor Andrew Joy, the County Council’s Armed Forces Champion and Executive Member for Communities, Partnerships and External Affairs, said:
We are delighted at WO Keeble’s richly deserved recognition from the Queen for his dedication in serving our country. As a County Council we have proudly supported Hampshire’s Armed Forces communities for many years, including Reservists who play such a vital role in operations in the UK and overseas. He has done an incredible job for his country and the County Council is proud to have supported him. We are indebted to him, and Reservists like him, for serving the nation.
Adrian, who has worked as an information analyst for the County Council’s Children’s Services Department since 2005, said:
I was honoured and delighted to receive the Queen’s Volunteer Reserves Medal, which was completely unexpected as there are only 13 medals of this nature given out each year.
I became a Reservist as I wanted to do something interesting and challenging with my life and to serve my country. It’s improved my self-confidence, my fitness and my organisational, planning and communications skills; all important life skills which help me adapt to all sorts of situations. I’m very grateful to the County Council who have been very supportive, with two weeks additional paid leave for training and other duties, as well as time to get involved in important events such as Armed Forces Day.
As the Senior Reserve Soldier for his regiment, Adrian’s main role is to provide leadership and military guidance, as well as upholding the values and standards of the British Army for a regiment of 250 soldiers based at Bexleyheath in south London. He continues to make the 150-mile round trip from his Alton home to the regimental base for training for around 100 days a year. He is also responsible for the training and potential mobilisation of the regiment’s high readiness reserves – a troop of soldiers who may be required to mobilise in support of the UK emergency services at short notice.
During his 20-year service, Adrian has completed six-month operational tours in Bosnia in 2001/02 and Afghanistan in 2013, has been awarded five service medals, qualified for his Dutch Army parachute wings in 2005 as well as winning a plethora of awards in football, running and basketball.
In Bosnia we were able to go out into the community and help out on projects such as rebuilding a school. But in Afghanistan the threat level was so much higher that we effectively didn’t leave Camp Bastion apart from being flown to other bases. The two tours were very different yet rewarding experiences.
Hampshire County Council’s commitment to supporting the Armed Forces was recently recognised with a Gold Award presented by His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge at the MOD Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Awards – one of only 22 organisations across the country to receive the award in 2016.
The County Council was one of the first local authorities to sign the Armed Forces Covenant and establish a strategic Civilian Military Partnership to ensure those who serve or have served, and their families, are treated fairly.
Photo: Adrian Keeble outside Hampshire County Councils offices in Winchester