Support for Green-Fingered Veterans

Veterans and Lalys team in allotment

Members of a Gosport charity dedicated to supporting veterans of the Armed Forces is preparing its allotment on Military Road for the summer months with seeds, plants and equipment provided by Lalys Pharmacy.

Veterans from the Royal Navy, Logistic Corps and Parachute Regiment gathered to thank a local pharmacy for its donation to the allotment project of FirstLight Trust, a charity located in Gosport High Street that provides social, practical and creative activities, as well as support to those who have serviced in the Armed Forces and Emergency Services.

With the money donated by Lalys Pharmacy in Privett Road, the FirstLight Trust has been able to purchase soil, vegetable seeds, rose plants and tools to ensure a successful growing season that helps participants find enthusiasm and satisfaction in the great outdoors.

‘We applied to Gosport Borough Council for the allotment in 2019 and only had to wait eight months for a plot to become available,’ says Riah Bunce, FirstLight Trust’s Activity Coordinator. ‘We were given the keys in March 2020, so you can imagine how keen our members were to get involved when it was one of the first approved activities after the lockdown. With the success of that plot we applied for and were given the plot behind which meant we could bring the great outdoors to many more veterans.’

‘My father was a Head Gardner when I was a boy, so if I had not joined the Royal Navy and trained as a nurse, I would have most likely followed in his footsteps, so having this opportunity is like coming full circle’ says Royal Navy Veteran, Les Aldridge. ‘I enjoy being outside in the fresh air and I feel it really contributes to my wellbeing.’

‘When we were chosen as the first pharmacy in Portsmouth, and one of the first in the UK, to provide a dedicated COVID Vaccination centre, we were supported by veterans who volunteered to manage and welcome queues of people,’ says pharmacist, founder and director of Lalys Pharmacy, Mrs Pushpinder Laly.

And Head Pharmacist at Lalys Gosport, Kom Hlapatsos agrees ‘Not only is this a fantastic initiative that combines exercise, nutrition and wellbeing, it is a wonderful opportunity for us to show our appreciation to a community who gave us such valuable supported in the past couple of years.’

‘We are so grateful to Lalys Pharmacy for its generosity and support,’ says Riah. ‘They proactively sought us out in order to engage with us and find out how best they could help what we do, and we very much appreciate their time and effort.’


Veterans and Lalys team in allotment

Press 1 (from left to right)

Veterans Tim Pugh, Paul McCann and Leslie Aldridge, Pharmacy Assistant Lisa Mcallister, Mrs Pushpinder Laly, FirstLight Trust Support Coordinator Sam Fry, David Atkinson, Pharmacist Kom Hlapatsos and FirstLight Trust’s Activity Coordinator, Riah Bunce

Lalys team and veterans in allotment

Press 2 (from left to right)

BACK ROW: Veterans Tim Pugh, Paul McCann Leslie Aldridge and David Atkinson with Pharmacy Assistant Lisa Mcallister.

FRONT ROW: FirstLight Trust Support Coordinator Sam Fry, Mrs Pushpinder Laly, FirstLight Trust’s Activity Coordinator Riah Bunce, and Pharmacist Kom Hlapatsos.