Previous Events

Previous events brought to you by, or in collaboration with, the Westminster Centre for Research and Innovation in Veterans’ Wellbeing

Veterans often complain of difficulties accessing healthcare when they leave the military. Specifically, they state that their GP doesn’t recognise that their presenting health problem may relate to their time in the armed services.

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Wednesday 11th April, 2018  

  • Starts at 4pm  (refreshments available from 3.30pm)

    Venue: Room CRV322,  University of Chester,  Riverside Campus, Castle Drive, Chester CH1 1SL.

Free admission, but booking is necessary.  Please contact Roger Whiteley email



Busting the myths around armed forces support

 Workshop attendees

On 8th February 2018, the University’s Westminster Centre for Research and Innovation in Veterans’ Wellbeing hosted a full day workshop in collaboration with The Royal British Legion.

The event attracted a diverse number of organisations including other Charities, NHS, MOD and local borough councils. The day was hosted by Professor Alan Finnegan and TRBL’s Gillian McKinnon, Mandy Sutton and their colleagues. Presentations ranged from insight into the problems of transitioning and resettling on leaving the Armed Forces, determining the empirical research data from everyday myths, insight into new Services including the “Veterans Gateway”.  Participants were also presented with an insight to the journey of a typical “Legion beneficiary” which gave a greater understanding of how the RBL assists ex-servicemen and women.  

After lunch delegates had the opportunity to introduce and discuss their services / organisations outputs to other attendees.  These ranged from a small charity that provides homes for ex-military offenders to a wheel chair rugby organisation and also a member of the Warrington Wolves Rugby League Club's Foundation discussed what they offer.  The day was evaluated and has laid a strong foundation for similar initiatives.


Professor Paul Horan presents a talk on the role of Irish nurses 1914 - 1921

 Paul Horan Presentation

Prof Paul Horan from Trinity College Dublin provided a fascinating insight into role of Irish nurses during the years 1914-1921 in his presentation “Caring for soldiers of the crown and the harp in war and rebellion”.  We hope this is not the only time Paul will be a guest at the University, and we look forward to working collaboratively for many years to come. 


Chris Matheson, MP for the City of Chester, Visits the Westminster Centre for Veterans Wellbeing

August 2016


It was a delight to welcome Chris Matheson, MP for the City of Chester to the Westminster Centre for Veteran’s Wellbeing on 30 August 2016. I’ve met Chris twice recently in a more informal setting at the Chester Branch of the Armed Forces & Veterans Breakfast Clubs.  Chris has been connecting with the Chester armed forces community at the Breakfast Club events which are held held primarily within the Dee Miller on the Kingsway. 

Our meeting at the University provided a really good opportunity to discuss the direction of travel for the Westminster Centre in working with the armed forces community across education, research and social engagement.  Chris’s help and direction is really valued, and as a Centre we look forward to Chris providing the opening address at the Westminster Centres Veteran’s Wellbeing symposium on 17 Nov 2016. 


Hilary Meredith, Westminster Centre Committee Member, Leads the Royal British Legion Solicitors Group to the Legal Services Team of the Year Award 2016

The Royal British Legion Solicitors Group (TRBLSG), chaired by the Hilary Meredith, CEO at Hilary Meredith Solicitors Ltd, has won the Legal Services Team of the Year accolade at the Claims Innovation Awards 2016. The Awards were held to celebrate how firms, teams and individuals from across the legal services, claims management and associated industries’ landscape constantly find new ways of raising standards, growing business and improving access to justice, were held in Manchester .

The Royal British Legion Solicitors Group (TRBLSG) was established in 1989  by a group of likeminded solicitors from law firms the breadth of the country, some ex-military but all with the same passion; to represent the Armed Forces and their families by providing the best legal advice and also to assist injured service personnel regain their quality of life post-injury.

Founder members were Hilary Meredith, Paul Harrington, Andy McDonald MP and Mark Fielding, while the group has grown over the years to include Geraldine McCool, David Poole, David Robinson, Clare Stevens, Dorcas Crawford, Simon Harrington and Jenny Holt.

Although from competing law firms the group shares information, and meets regularly to discuss tactical issue and trends.  The group also provides extensive training (Pro Bono) to the Royal British Legion staff and DMCR Headley Court (recently on Court of Protection matters).


Commenting on the award win, TRBLSG Chair Hilary Meredith said:

“We are thrilled to win this award. Military law has become significantly more complex over the years, making the role of TRBLSG more important than ever before.”

TRBLSG has untaken Pro Bono work amounting to hundreds of thousands of pounds for injured military service personnel and their families over the years, covering incidents from Northern Ireland to Bosnia, Gulf War 1, Iraq and Afghanistan and also accidents on manoeuvres from jungle training in Belize to South China, Hong Kong, Kenya, Cyprus, Germany and Canada.

Over the last 12 months, TRBLSG has provided Pro bono support and representation to the families at a number of Inquests, including Brecon Beacons, which led to the Parliamentary Enquiry Beyond Endurance.  The inquest found that Lance Corporal Edward Maher, Lance Corporal Craig Roberts and Corporal James Dunsby died as a result of negligence on a 16-mile march on an exceedingly hot day in 2013.

Giving evidence to the parliamentary Inquiry, TRBLSG Chair Hilary Meredith said the deaths amounted to "criminal recklessness" on the part of the MOD.  Agreeing with Hilary’s evidence, the Committee recommended that the Ministry of Defence should lose its crown immunity when there is a clear disregard for life.


College of Military Veterans & Emergency Services (CMVES) awarded Families & Veterans Award at the North West Armed Forces Business Awards 2016

July 2016


Professor Alan Finnegan, University of Chester; Mrs Jenny Stone, CMVES; Brigadier Chris Coles, 42 Brigade, Mrs Celia Hynes, University of Salford & Mr Stuart Kilmartin, CMVES

The North West’s third annual Armed Forces Business Awards have taken place in Manchester’s Monastery on Thursday 7 July 2016.  The aim of the event was to honour companies and organizations’ from across the region for the support they give to the military.

Personnel nominated employers ranging from household names to small family businesses. Each had shown outstanding commitment to the Armed Forces either by assisting staff who serve in the Reserves, working with military families or supporting the region’s cadet forces.

Six regional awards were presented including the best support to families and veterans award which was won by the CMVES.  

Brigadier Christopher Coles, Commander of the Army’s 42nd Infantry Brigade and HQ North West, said: “I’d like to add my congratulations to all the winners and the nominees at this year’s regional awards. Each has shown a real commitment to our full time personnel, reservists and our cadet adult volunteers. We’re grateful to all the organisations which were nominated and look forward to working alongside them for many years to come.

 Detail of the College can be found at:


Collaboration with the US Army

May 2016


Professor Alan Finnegan presents a University of Chester plaque to Colonel Sara Breckenridge-Sproat, Regional Nurse Executive with the Regional Health Command Europe. 

Professor Finnegan was an invited guest speaker at the 2016 European African Military Nursing Exchange (EAMNE) Conference and The Eurasia Africa Military Medical (TEAMM) Summit at Garmisch, Germany from the 25 May 2016.

The two medical conferencing events allowed over 300 medical professionals from across Europe and Africa to learn and exchange their best medical practices with one another in hopes of enhancing their capabilities of providing the highest quality care for their patients.  U.S. Air Forces in Africa command and the US Army Regional Health Command Europe hosted the event.  

Colonel Finnegan presented four papers, including a paper titled “The Challenges & Psychological Impact of Delivering Nursing Care in a War Zone" which was accepted in May 2016 for publication in Nursing Outlook.


Assessment of the Psychological, Social and Welfare Needs of Military Veterans’ in Chester and the Surrounding Areas

April 2016

On 21 April 2016, The Westminster Centre hosted a focus group to explore the psychological, social and welfare needs of veterans’ and their families in Chester, Warrington, Halton, the Wirral and the surrounding areas.  

Members of the Centre team were joined by veteran’s champions and colleagues from the Councils of Chester, Halton & Warrington.  Other representatives included personnel, from the Royal British Legion (RBL); Soldier, Sailor, Air Force and Families Association (SAFFA) who all actively engaged in the meeting to detail local issues for military veterans and their family’s needs.  

These included an overview of the characteristics and needs of the local military veterans community; establishing the range of services provided to them and an assessment of the variations in outcomes depending on different demographics and mental / physical health (who gets what, with what outcomes and at what cost).  

A report will be prepared with details in due course