Not only is Gary Doyle, Group Harbour Master at Peel Ports, tasked with looking after port marine operations throughout the UK, he’s also a Navy veteran with over 30 years of service at sea, in the air and on the land. With Liverpool hosting this year’s National Armed Forces Event on Saturday 24 June, Gary tells us how important the occasion is for the armed forces, their families and veterans, and explains its significance to the city.
What is the local impact of Armed Forces day this year - how important is it for Liverpool to be hosting the national event? Having been born in Liverpool and spent my formative years here I am immensely proud of the city and the journey it has been on over the last 25 years or so. Hosting the national event is a typical warm hearted gesture from the city, and one I know Liverpool will embrace. It will also provide the opportunity for us to show Liverpool in all of its glory on both the national and international stage. We must also remember that Liverpool is a city with a proud and important Mercantile history as well, synonymous with the success of the country. The North West is also immensely important for the Armed Forces, as the region provides a considerable proportion of the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force. I hope all those who come along to the event will get the chance to speak to a sailor, soldier or airman on the day and ask them about what they do.
How important is Armed Forces day for veterans and their families? The day is extremely important and acts as a day when our communities across the country organise and lay on various events to demonstrate their support for their Armed Forces. It’s a chance for the public and those connected with the Armed Forces to show that they truly value the contribution made by all members and veterans. Importantly, the day is not just about veterans, but is equally about the men and women currently serving across the globe 365 days of the year protecting the UK’s interests.
Can you tell us about your time in the armed forces, Gary?I served in a variety of roles at sea on land and in the air across the globe over three decades. In that time I was a Seaman/Warfare Officer but was also sub specialised as a Naval Aviator (Observer) and Principle Warfare Officer (Underwater). Career highlights along the way include commanding the Mine Counter Measures Vessel HMS BROCKLESBY and the Type 42 Destroyer HMS SOUTHAMPTON, which is the sister ship to HMS LIVERPOOL. My last role was as a Commodore as Naval Regional Commander North of England and Isle of Man, based in Liverpool.
As Harbour Master, what are some of the transferable skills you’ve taken from your time in the armed forces? As well as my maritime experience from around the globe, the management, leadership and command skills I have learnt during my military career are very relevant and I use this experience daily. I feel I bring a different perspective and approach which hopefully adds value to Peel Ports and breeds loyalty and respect across the broader workforce.
What does your role at The Port of Liverpool entail on a day-to-day basis? My remit involves looking after Peel Ports’ marine elements throughout the country, providing advice and guidance to individual Port marine teams. Driving standardisation of Port Marine Safety Code across the Group and creating and developing a consistency of approach and sharing of best practice is also a big part of my role. In line with of our motto of being ‘More than Ports’, we have some marine industry leading initiatives that we are investing in at the moment, which is very exciting to be a part of. The harnessing of these ideas, along with promoting and nurturing young talent throughout the company is a very rewarding aspect of the job and one that attracted me to Peel Ports. Challenging convention and the naysayer approach of ‘we’ve always done it that way’ is also an important state of mind that is prevalent in the company and one we must encourage if we are to evolve and better our business.
(Pic: Gary Doyle presenting Gary Hodgson with the Armed Forces Silver covenant during his time as Naval Regional Commander for the North of England)
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