Queen’s Honours: Darlington biker gets BEM after starting veterans charity AFB
A biker who was one of the founding members of a charity set up to help struggling veterans has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM).
Steven Regan, from Piercebridge, near Darlington, who served with the Royal Air Force Regiment for 26 years between 1978 and 2004, is chairman of the Armed Forces Bikers (AFB).
The 61-year-old helped set up the charity, which has given away more than hundreds of thousands of pounds over the past decade, as a springboard for veterans in need of support.
Saying he was surprised and touched by the prize, he added: “It is the work of others that has brought us to where we are.
“The troops are making this happen.
He received the honor for service to veterans.
Mr Regan, who stationed at Catterick and Leeming during his career in the forces, was part of an informal cycling group that became the AFB.
After his career in the armed forces, Mr. Regan became a computer science teacher at the Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form Center in Darlington and is now semi-retired.
Originally set up to raise money for other charities, the AFB, which operates across the UK, now has charity status and distributes small grants of up to £2,000 in 24 to 48 hours after submission of applications.
About 250 people are “patch-wearing” members who pledge to raise as much money as possible through a variety of charitable activities, from bike rides to collections and social media appeals.
All money raised goes directly to veterans, with those who run the charity all working as volunteers. In addition to fundraising, members also participate in social rides.
Mr Regan, who drives his Triumph Nightstorm, said: ‘We have become well known as a stepping stone charity so we help people give them that step so they don’t fall and drown until one of the biggest charities can get involved.
“At first some people saw us as competitors, but they realized we were an asset, rather than someone to be feared, so we work well with the bigger charities.”
He added: “We also have social rides. Part of our organization is that a lot of members have mental health issues because of things they went through in the forces. We get a good camaraderie from being part of the group. One of our mottos is “Help Help Us” and our other motto is “Roll, Honor, Support”. »