Meet The Team

The Team

Sean Gane

Veteran Support Centre Manager


Sean brings first-hand knowledge, understanding and empathy to the centre and is passionate about supporting other veterans and anyone with connections to the military who may require company and support. Sean has a wealth of ideas to improve the centre’s services further and to generate greater interest in the site so it can help more people. One feature Sean would like to see implemented is the running of regular art groups, exhibitions, and promotions to help create interest.

Tracy Ricketts

Founding Ambassador


Tracy has worked for Herefordshire Council for 35 years with over 25 years’ experience of working in the field of grants either bidding for, supporting other organisations to bid for funding or managing the grants. She supported the original covenant grant funding from the MOD in 2013 and has been one of the main points of contact for the armed forces in Herefordshire since that time. Through a separate bid to the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust funding was offered for supporting pilot veteran hubs. A working group was formed to shape the needs for Herefordshire and the solution of having a dedicated venue with a criteria of a one stop shop was agreed. She led that successful bid and oversaw the development and delivery of what is now the Veteran Support Centre. She continues to be passionate and supportive to ensure the Centre continues to be a success.

Ben Cooley

Volunteer Co-ordinator

Ben served in the Armed Forces as a Regular soldier then later as a Full Time Reservist for over 35 years. Most of this time has been spent in Hereford. He is married into a Herefordshire farming family and has three teenage children, all still in full-time education. He has recently taken on the role of Volunteer Coordinator and likes to have a hands-on approach by going out to meet veterans in need of support. His main interest is long distance walking and taking part in ultra races (mostly at the back of the pack). He is keen to help fellow veterans with whatever support they need.


Shaun Leavy

Chris Tipping

Samantha Lewis


Samantha Lewis is the Chair of the Herefordshire Veteran Support Centre. Being the daughter of a Veteran, Samantha understands the difficulties some veterans face when they leave the military, and is passionate about providing different levels of support that may be required. Samantha uses her network extensively to deliver collaboration and community engagement to support veterans and their families. Sam is also the HR Director at NMITE, who are just as passionate about supporting military leavers and veterans, and have received the Gold Award via the Employer Recognition Scheme.

Sam’s passion for the veteran agenda and the Armed Forces Covenant as a whole is palpable, infectious and demonstrates the value she has as an advocate for the Armed Forces Covenant in and around Herefordshire.

Andy Bridgewater MBE

Andy Bridgewater is a Global Sales Manager for an innovative robotics company. Andy Served in the Royal Engineers for almost 10 years, completing numerous tours in various areas of the world gaining skills and experiences no other career can give. Having personally struggled with his mental health after leaving the forces, Andy understands the difficulties many veterans face when transitioning to civilian life. He strives to help in any way possible to help with this change and other difficulties our forces personnel may face.

Philip Chandler


Philip Chandler is a semi-retired health and safety consultant. Phil has had the opportunity to work overseas in most of Europe and parts of Africa. Phil was in the Royal Corp of Signals for 24 years and served in the Army Cadets as an Adult Instructor for another 26 years after he retired from his army career as a reservist. Phil was a full member of Longtown Mountain Rescue for over 20 years and is now an honorary member. Phil is also Chair of Herefordshire Health and Safety Group and a trustee of both the Hinton Community Centre and Herefordshire Veteran Support Centre. At present Phil is a caseworker for SSAFA.

Phil enjoys the outdoors and the picture above was taken in Canada when he visited his two sons who have residency there. Phil also has another son, daughter in law, daughter and grandson living in England. Phil was also the Safety Advisor for the internal cleaning of St Pauls Cathedral in London for 3 ½ years. Phil is passionate about supporting others less fortunate than he has been and getting them the help they need. Be that help to be carried off the mountain, due to injury or supporting them to get the right help.

David Catchpole

David is a retired officer having served 42 years in the British Army. David commenced his career as an apprentice and served 23 years as a soldier before gaining a commission serving a further 19 years. David has served around the world on both exercises and operational duty gaining a wide breadth of knowledge, skills and experience. His focus post retiring is within the veteran community, and their respective families, and also is a member of the Help For Heroes Team (Herefordshire) and works for ageUK with Veterans With Mild Dementia within the county. David is particularly passionate about ensuring veterans are supported and, as a trustee secondary duty, he oversees the volunteer arena for The HVSC. The photo shows David, in Feb this year, visiting one of our Airborne and Special Forces Veterans, from Hereford, who is now an In-Pensioner at the Royal Hospital Chelsea (RHC) on his 92nd Birthday. David is working with The RHC to assist in developing their “Outreach Programme” for the benefit of our more mature veteran community within the county. David is a keen runner, hillwalker (he is a member of the Golden Valley Hillwalking Club), and enjoys getting on his mountain bike; David also participates in poetry, he is a a member of the local society, and is a qualified horticulturalist.