Birthday honour for Veterans Aid volunteer

June 12, 2019

Veterans Aid volunteer and former Coldstream Guards musician Darren Hardy has been awarded a Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) in The Queen’s Birthday Honours.

The Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) recognises long term service in the Armed Forces of non commissioned ranks and is presented to those who have displayed irreproachable conduct throughout, or who have made a significant service contribution.

On hearing the news Darren said:

“I was blown away – and totally surprised. It is such an honour and the icing on the cake of a wonderful career in the Band of the Coldstream Guards and Army music.”

His citation reads:

“Colour Sergeant Darren Hardy has been awarded a Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) for his exemplary service to the Coldstream Guards and the Corps of Army Music and in recognition of his charitable work.

CEO Veterans Aid Dr Hugh Milroy said:

“I couldn’t be prouder or more delighted. Darren’s commitment to this and other charities is inspirational. He epitomises all that is best in the British military; service, generosity and genuine concern for others less fortunate than himself. This honour is well deserved and all who have worked alongside him at Veterans Aid share my pleasure at the announcement.”

Veterans Aid team

Darren, who left the Army in April after 23 years’ service, is a familiar face at VA where he has spent many hours supporting frontline staff in its Victoria Operations Room.

He said:

“I came to VA while on resettlement leave and have learned so much. I’ve seen some of the most vulnerable people in the veterans’ community arrive at this charity. The change when they leave and get back on their feet is amazing. The expertise that the individual members of the VA team bring is second to none.”

Wedding gift

In 2015 Darren and his bride Lorna asked guests at their wedding to donate money to the charity instead of buying wedding presents. Darren, a proud Geordie who joined the Band of the Coldstream Guards in July 1996, said at the time, “We felt incredibly proud to be able to give something to such an amazing charity.”

It was the start of an enduring association and in 2018, while a serving Colour Sergeant, Darren dedicated his moving poem The Armistice Ghost, to the charity.

A gifted musician, Darren performed with the Band of the Coldstream Guards in Australia, China, South Korea, Kuwait, Italy, Norway, Switzerland, Belgium, German and Sweden during his distinguished military career.