I am Stacey, a former British Army Soldier, and previously homeless Veteran.
During periods of homelessness after my discharge in the mid 1990’s, whilst sleeping rough in Church yards, and on beaches here in Cornwall, I began to wonder through hunger, what if any of the wild plants growing in those places I could eat.
Amazingly, one day in early 1995. An elderly gentleman whom I had seen at a distance on many occasions, appeared before me. He politely, and kindly asked if I was ok, and said “you look like someone who is down on your luck.” I told him of my journey and how I had ended up where I was, and explained I was recently a Soldier.
He stood before me, smiled warmly, and held out his hand to offer me a small brown paper bag and said, “I would like you to take this, as I think it will help on the next part of your journey.”
Inside was a small pocketbook by Richard Mabey called ‘Food for Free’ which I gladly accepted as it had the answers to the questions I had been asking. Following this event, I never did see the mysterious gentleman again, even though I spent more time in that Church yard.
A random act of kindness, and a gift in the form of a book, which in effect changed my life in an instant, and steered me on a path to becoming an NCFE Level 4 Bushcraft, Survival & Wilderness Living Skills Instructor.
Since May 2009 I have had the opportunity and privilege to pass on the gift I was so graciously given, to train and mentor many HM Forces Veterans, and Serving Personnel to the same professional standard.
In September 2018 I took part in a contemporary Rites of Passage weekend held by the Cornwall Community of the Award-winning National Charity ‘abandofbrothers’ www.abandofbrothers.org.uk.
An experience which again challenged by beliefs and had a truly profound and positive effect on me. This enabled massive personal transition, growth, and healing from previously diagnosed psychological trauma and injury sustained through military service.
I have undertaken and completed Facilitation level 1 & 2, and Mentor Training with the Charity and mentored young men.
I am now a Company Director, Instructor and Facilitator at Remembering Our Roots CIC based here in Cornwall.
My journey, and that gift, has inspired us to create the ‘NINE S.H.I.P.S (Secrets Hidden In Plain Sight) Veterans Project’ in which we endeavour to pass on the same gift of knowledge, as freely as it was received by myself, at no cost to our Veterans.