A CLYDEBANK army veteran who served multiple tours in Iraq transporting tanks has decided to transfer his driving talents to a nearby charity to help keep them moving.

Nick O’Neill has teamed up with fellow veteran Mark Elder to support ex-service charity Erskine as their transport and support service manager, charged with looking after the group’s 24 vehicles and taking Erskine’s care home residents out on day trips or driving ex-service personnel to and from hospital appointments.

It’s a more modest fleet of vehicles compared to the 2,500 Nick looked after in his army days and, as Armed Forces Day approaches this weekend, the 45-year-old reflected on honouring current and former military men and women.

He said: “The modern-day society that we live in today is because of the people who serve, many of which are residents at Erskine or under our care.

“It is thanks to them that we live in a free world, so while they are needing care, I am honoured to be a part of a team who are there for them when they require it most.

“Armed Forces Day is a reminder of everyone that we served alongside, and the residents that have come to Erskine throughout the years.

“Being able to play a part in this charity is amazing. Erskine is unique, and as veterans caring for veterans, there is no greater honour than to care for our heroes.

“I just get a sense of achievement because I come from a background where I was always part of a team.

“Having spent 22 years in the army the camaraderie is a massive thing for me and just to wander around the houses and spend time speaking to veterans and hearing their stories is amazing.

“It’s rewarding just to know that they acknowledge the current military’s respect for them. Times are different but the sort of things that you’ve had to face are very similar.

“Being away undertaking dangerous missions in hostile environments. That never changes. You know that remains the same”.

As well as completed tours of Iraq, the pair were involved in other armed conflicts including Bosnia and Northern Ireland, where they witnessed first-hand the physical and emotional toll that war can take on soldiers.