“My father was an ex-sailor, he spent my whole childhood telling me to join the Navy, but I felt I had to live my life first. After university I went travelling for a year and applied for a job in HR when I returned. 18 months in I thought, my goodness, I’m bored! I need something, I need excitement, to travel the world… something extra. At 27 I saw a recruitment stand and thought “why not?”. I was one of the oldest going through basic training, and I did find that a bit tough, but I was so passionate and wanted to succeed – I think you need that to get through. After training I joined my first ship. I served on HMS York for 2 years before deploying to Afghanistan as part of the UK Joint Force Medical Group. It was strangely one of the best jobs I’ve had because of the camaraderie of the team. When you go on an Op Tour to a warzone, you become much closer to the people you work with, you share an extraordinary experience. I then worked in the UPO at HMS Nelson for a while before finding out I was pregnant in 2012. At my 12-week scan I was advised there was a 50% chance my baby would have Down Syndrome. My son was born 8 weeks prematurely with Down Syndrome. At that point the Royal Navy gave me a career break to dedicate my time to ensuring my son had the best start in life, and I can certainly see this has proved to be a success because he is now thriving educationally among his peers. I really value having had that opportunity to take a break and put him first. I came back to the Navy after my career break and was ready to commit, with more drive than ever and having learnt further skills during my time off. Some might say this has benefitted the Royal Navy. I volunteered as Trustee of the Portsmouth Down Syndrome Association for 6 years. They offer support and specialist services to over 100 families in and around the Portsmouth area. During my time here I helped to raise over £50,000 organising various events such as abseiling down Spinnaker Tower and skydiving. I currently volunteer as the Service Family & Carer Advocate of the Chronic conditions and Disability in Defence (CanDiD) network helping to make life better for those in the Armed Forces, their families and veterans effected by chronic illness and disability. I have recently worked with the RNRMC and the Kings Foundation who provide summer camps for Service children, helping to make the camps more inclusive for children with all abilities. In 2018, I was named a Rising Star in Defence for my work, which I’m really proud of. I’ll always speak up for what I believe in, and I see myself as the advocate for service parents who may be struggling but not have the ability to speak out themselves”.
Leading Writer Rebecca Fyans was among the recipients of this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List. Rebecca works at the Navy’s headquarters in Portsmouth, is made an MBE for her commitment to disability and inclusion and diversity issues, both across Defence and in her local community.
[📷 Images were taken before COVID-19]
Source: Royal Navy
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