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Former British Army soldier to give inspirational talk in South Tyneside

Pictured is Corporal Rory Mackenzie who will be delivering a key note speech at The Customs House on 19th March

Corporal (Cpl) Rory Mackenzie is a former British Army Combat Medical Technician, who travels the world telling his story of courage and determination about defeating the odds - as his life journey is inspirational beyond belief.

On Wednesday 19th March, Cpl Mackenzie will be keynote speaker at a free event, "Minefields and Motivation" being hosted at The Customs House in South Shields.  The event will showcase the strength and determination instilled into the variety of roles in Military personnel through training and service - and a reflection of how their skills, knowledge, work ethic and attitude to work can benefit your business.

Hosted by South Tyneside Council in association with the South Tyneside's Armed Forces Community Covenant Steering Group, the event will take place from 08:30am.

Cpl Mackenzie's story has the makings of a Hollywood blockbuster. Five years ago, he survived a 16-hour life-saving operation after being badly injured following a bomb attack while serving in Basra; an attack that took the life of his close colleague.  Cpl Mackenzie pulled through and undertook a rigorous programme of recovery; leading to him fulfilling a breathtaking array of personal achievements that has inspired everyone who hears his story.

Sport now plays a massive role in Cpl Mackenzie's life with rowing being his event of choice. His accomplishments and desire to achieve attracted an invitation to speak at the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympics, where his words were heard by millions of people around the world.

Cpl Mackenzie talks about what he hopes people take away with them after Minefields and Motivation. He said: "By the end of my presentation, I hope the delegates and local businesses feel more reassured and at ease about their decision to employ ex servicemen. I hope they are inspired by the examples of companies that already employ ex servicemen and have seen the benefits to it."

He added: "It is crucial that Councils are aware of ex servicemen seeking employment and make any potential job opportunities for ex servicemen and women known, as they will benefit from an individual who will segue easily into an environment where they continue to give back to the community."

In December 2011, South Tyneside Council signed the Armed Forces Community Covenant, showing its active support for serving personnel, veterans and their families. The Council organises regular events in the Borough including its annual Armed Forces Day in June.

Councillor Ed Malcolm, South Tyneside Council's Armed Forces Champion, said: "This month's event promises to be inspiring, moving and to some people it could even be life changing. We are lucky to be given an insight into Lance Corporal Mackenzie's incredible journey, and it should be a poignant way for service and non-service personnel to learn from somebody who has achieved a great deal in their life, to date.

"Minefields and Motivation ideally represents the kind of projects being delivered in the Borough by South Tyneside's Armed Forces Community Covenant steering group. It shows the varied level of commitment and support we are providing to people and the partnership work we are orchestrating to help make a difference in the region."

The event will be introduced by James Ramsbotham, Chief Executive of the North East Chamber of Commerce (NECC) - who spent 12 years soldiering around the world with the Royal Green Jackets.  He is also Honorary Colonel for The Rifles (T.A.) in County Durham and a Deputy Lieutenant for Co. Durham.

Minefields and Motivation will also include talks from the Army Presentation Team, who will be present about the strengths of ex service people and what they can positively bring to your workforce.

Automotive company, Nissan will share with the audience details of the skills former military personnel have brought to their successful team and the variety of roles they occupy.

Local employer, Port of Tyne will also have a presence at the event where they will be able to provide details about the employment opportunities available at the company.

BT South Tyneside are pledging their support to the event.  They have a vested interest, as the business hosts a "Mydonate" website, which allows people to make charitable donations. One of the charities on the website is Hire a Hero - a service that provides help for soldiers, sailors and Air Force personnel to make the transition from the Forces back into civilian life. The scheme highlights how assistance is available with employment, training, housing and specialist support for the injured.
Spaces are limited and booking is required; to reserve your place on the free 'Minefields and Motivation' event at The Customs House on Wednesday 19th March, please visit or people can contact Jenn Richards on 0191 424 6256 or via emailing (advanced booking is advised)  

For further information about Armed Forces support in South Tyneside people can visit South Tyneside Council's website at  

Also, Cpl Mackenzie has a website that provides background details about his life story and speaking events  

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