Pamela McNeill

I am probably the worst person to write a bio on myself as I am my biggest critic, but my Chain of Command has put me forward for this prestigious award, so I will do my best.

I am one of two females in my trade in the Regular British Army I believe, I have been serving for 18 years so far and have had a colourful career in that time. I have been deployed to Iraq, the Falkland Islands and various exercises in Germany and the UK. I have also been fortunate enough to receive two commendations for my service from the Army Chain of Command. Simply put, I absolutely love my job and honestly believe I have the best trade in the British Army; when others find out I am a Metalsmith they are usually in disbelief as it is a very male dominated trade. I chose my trade years ago when I was told a woman could not do the job, this only spurred me on to do it.

I am a single mother of two amazing children and they are my greatest achievement. I have been sponsoring a child in Tanzania (through Action Aid since 2010) to teach my children how lucky they are and appreciate all they have as well as helping a less fortunate soul struggling so far away. To further show them how fortunate they are, I have been a long-time supporter of the NSPCC.

With my particular skill set from my trade I am fortunate enough to be able to make metal art and often use scrap that I find in the bin to make pieces in my own time to sell for various charities. I recently made some metal poppies for my local memorial garden that a vetran has selflessly started after seeing an article about his work in my local newspaper; I am currently making a big centre piece for the garden to be unveiled later this year.

I have also recently made some pieces for the Leuchars local school and nursery to sell for play ground equipment. My daughter desperately wanted me to buy one and I begrudgingly did so, I put it on my social media about having to buy my own work and the interest was very high giving me the idea to make more and auction it off for the Accord Hospice in Paisley that provides palliative and end of life care. I want to do it to pay them back for the amazing support they gave my family last year and in memory of an amazing family member, someone who had a lot to do with the woman I am today, so in a way it is helping myself through the grieving process. Due to having such a busy life being a single mother serving in the Army I do this in my spare time which is few and far between.

I donate my hair to the Little Princess Charity Trust; my five year old daughter came with me on one occasion and decided she wanted to donate her hair as well. She grew her hair until it was long enough to donate, seeing her bursting with pride in herself when getting her hair cut to donate almost had me in tears. Her school awarded her a certificate at assembly for her selfless act and she came out of school with the biggest smile that day. I regularly donate blood and am on the DKMS bone marrow transplant list.

At my last Unit I helped run a mental health support group that one of my fellow peers set up to help support fellow struggling soldiers with their mental health and to ease the strain on the mental health services. The group has now grown in strength to support more soldiers within that Unit. Myself and two others at 2 CS Bn REME are now in the process of starting a similar group supported by the Battalion Welfare Team here in Scotland backed by the Chain of Command who are concerned for the welfare of our soldiers. This is a work in progress at the moment, though something that there is a need for and the motivation to get up an running.

Most recently, I was selected to be an inspirational speaker at an Army Service Women’s Network gathering, though unfortunately due to Coronavirus, this has been postponed.

There is more I could put, but to be honest this is very uncomfortable for me to write, I try to be the best I can be, be an inspiration to my children and those around me in every day life.