CLAIRE WARNER BLACKMAN
Claire is a marketing and communications professional who has worked at a senior level in the NHS and charity sector for over 20 years. She brings her skills and experience to help raise the profile of Go Commando and increase awareness of the support available through the charity for our Royal Marines families. Claire is also a coach and a Royal Marines Association Support Network Officer. She is passionate about providing support when needed to the families of those still serving as well as those who have retired from the Corps. Claire has lived in Taunton for 17 years and is married to a former Royal Marine.
Laura became a Trustee of Go Commando in 2017. After she received help and support from this Charity during the aftermath of her husband, CSgt Aaron ‘Tiny’ Winter’ untimely death in 2013 . She knows life as a Partner of a Royal Marine and the trials and tribulations that this lifestyle can present. Laura also brings experience in finance and Human Resources. Her main role nowadays is her most cherished as a ‘Stay at Home Mum’, although often feels underqualified on a regular basis. Since being on the receiving end of charitable generosity Laura has undertaken and continues to undertake Physical Challenges, Rock Solid, Commando Challenge, 10K’s and Battle Cancer (to mention a few) in an attempt to ‘give back’.
Liz brings a wealth of experience to the charity sector from over 30 years working with families and young children in both the public and private sector. Liz has always endeavoured to ensure military families were at the forefront of any new Government developments and introduced the Armed Forces Community Covenant to the local authority which duly embraced the scheme. Liz is married with two grown up daughters and four lovely grandchildren.
Liz is chair of The Healthy Child Boards covering Taunton and West Somerset. Liz is also a school governor at a local primary school with responsibilities for Early Years and Safeguarding.
Go Commando has recently developed a new children’s day nursery in partnership with a quality early years provider. The nursery is situated in Pen Elm, Taunton directly across from 40 Commando Royal Marines base. The provision caters for children and families of both armed force families and the wider community. Liz was and is heavily involved with this project.
One of Liz’s sons in law is a Royal Marine veteran and so for many reasons she has a strong commitment and passion to act as a trustee for Go Commando.
PETER BERKS – TREASURER/ACCOUNTS
Peter has lived and worked in Taunton for over 30 years. Now semi-retired, he runs his own textile components company. His career has been entirely in industry and he has held senior financial positions before also taking over as MD and consultant of a local thread manufacturing company. Peter is married to a Primary School Head Teacher and has two grown up children, successful in their own careers in IT Marketing at retail giant ASOS and a Research Officer in the charity sector. He has one young grand daughter so is busy learning the art of grand parenting skills! With many years experience in the commercial business sector, Peter brings his skills to assist with the finances and day to day running of the charity and believes in the real significance that Go Commando brings to the Royal Marine Family both in the local community and further afield.
Alexander Blackman served 16 years in the Royal Marines, during which time he saw operational service in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan. He spent the majority of his time in service at 40 Commando Royal Marines and has a strong connection to the west country. Alex has spent the past few years working for a community interest company supporting veterans. In his spare time, he enjoys country walks with his wife and dog as well cycling and playing golf.
TONY (TEX) FREEMAN BEM
Tony joined GO COMMANDO as a trustee in June 2021. Originally from Dorking in Surrey, he joined the Royal Marines in 1989. During his time in the Corps, he served at Royal Marines Poole, 4th Assault Sqn (HMS Fearless )40 Cdo, CTCRM, before returning back to 40 Cdo. Tex served operationally in Iraq in 1991 (Op Haven) and 2 tours of N.Ireland with 40 Cdo. He left the Corps in 2001 having served for 12 years and reaching the rank of Corporal. Tex settled in Taunton after meeting a local girl, his future wife.
He still lives just up the road from Norton Manor Camp with Donna and their sons Harrison and Charlie. Tex joined the Avon and Somerset Constabulary in 2002 and is still serving to date 19 years later. Tex has completed various local community projects inc. funding for CCTV cameras and building a Community Garden on his beat in Bridgwater.
Tex was also a Parish Councillor for 10 years where he project managed a new community play area and also a re-vamp of Tennis courts, with the construction of a new MUGA. Tex has completed many different charity events inc. 4 London Marathons and to date has raised over £32,500 for various charities. On 8th June 2019, he was honoured to receive the British Empire Medal in the Queens Birthday Honours list, for his Charity work and work within the local community, which he is extremely proud of.