Paddy Trewin joined the British Army in 1978 at the age of 15, but says he wasn’t allowed through the gates until he was 16. He served 23 and a half years with the Royal Green Jackets before retiring in November of 2001, and learned of Team Rubicon through his former regiment.
He received an email on the 9th of December in 2015 from his regimental association stating that Team Rubicon was seeking volunteers to deploy to Cumbria to assist with flood cleanup. He didn’t know much about TR, but Paddy knew that there had been record flooding in Cumbria and that people needed help. He dropped his details into the form at half nine and received his dispatch instructions less than two hours later. He packed his bags immediately and says the quick turn around, “didn’t give me time to think, which was brilliant.”
Since retiring from the Army in 2001, Paddy has tried his hand at several jobs, from house renovations where he learned a lot about the building trade, to security, to his current work in drainage. He owns his own drainage business, covering “absolutely everything” to do with drainage, and says the work fits him well because it requires him to use his “squaddie attitude” to work through things logically to solve problems.
Now 54, Paddy stays on Facebook just to keep in touch with those he served with, and says he misses most of his time with the Royal Green Jackets, especially the commonship and “the day to day people actually doing jobs.” He explains the squaddie mentality of hard work is something that’s been hard to find outside of the Army. “If you went out on a city street here and just turn up you would have to explain what to do and keep motivating them and everything else, whereas the ethics, to me, of somebody that’s gone through a couple of years in the Army at least, you say right lads, this is the task, this is what we’ve got to get on with. There’s the shovels, crack on. And you know it’s gonna get done and they’ll do it to the best of their ability.”
After several days in the mud with over 40 volunteers from Team Rubicon, it was the squaddie work ethic and a familiar commonship that Paddy found on Operation: Wordsworth in Keswick in early December. “We just wanna help everybody, and it doesn’t matter if it’s just one fridge to move or clean the whole house out, it doesn’t matter.”