Our pandemic journey that led us to the bbc documentary.

During this pandemic of Covid-19 HJG Removals were closed due to the Government guidelines. Hayden who owns HJG Removals was having a think about how he could help the local community during the pandemic during this time. Hayden had then noticed on social media that many charities had took a spike with people who were in need more so now than ever with the current pandemic. Hayden then had the idea of volunteering himself to help as many people in need as possible with some extra helping hands. Hayden decided to make an appeal on the HJG Removals Facebook page asking if anyone knew any local charities who were in need of help or any charity workers who were in need to contact his Facebook page. The initial idea was to help any local charities in the Renfrewshire area. All the local newspapers had grabbed the opportunity to run an article on this act of kindness. Hayden then started to make several emails and phone calls to local charities who were all happy to take note of his details to get back in touch. With Hayden so determined to help during the pandemic his mind was working overtime in which while glaring at the wall in a daze he noticed he was looking at his plaque which holds his Afghanistan medal. This then flicked a switch and got Hayden thinking back on far he has come since leaving the Army. This then gave him the idea of helping veterans. While Hayden was leaving the Army due to a medical discharge, he was in a personal recovery unit who use a charity called Fares4Free frequently to help soldiers. Hayden personally used the Fares4Free charity on his last appointment with the British Army and by fate the founder of the charity David Gibson brought Hayden home from that last appointment. On the journey home from Edinburgh to Renfrewshire, David being the lovely, kind and generous man he is reassured Hayden that after he was discharged that all would be ok. Hayden had told David his plan on opening his own company at the age of 23 in which David replied ‘Do it!’ without hesitation.

This is where the story begins on how it came about with Hayden volunteering to help charities like Fares4Free in which Hayden looks at it as giving back to a charity who helped him in his time of need. Hayden got in contact with David directly and offered to volunteer himself and a van as he seen David’s charity was doing food deliveries to veterans during the pandemic. The next day Hayden was asked to help assist Fares4Free and Coming Home Centre in using a van to pick up large quantities of food to then help distribute them to veterans across Glasgow and Renfrewshire. This then became a frequent volunteering service in which felt like some sort of normality during the pandemic. Hayden looked forward to helping out everyday assisting in delivering food parcels to help those who were in need. This involved Hayden picking up large quantities of different types of foods including fresh foods, frozen foods, ready meals, toiletries, all the essentials you could possibly think of was available to these veterans and families. Hayden would then travel to Motherwell to a Veterans Hub to help divide the parcels in to equal packages to then be delivered all across Scotland through many other volunteers who helped these charities. Hayden also picked up pallets of dog food for veteran’s pets including service dogs and also assisted in moving veterans from temporary accommodation to forever homes under strict social distancing measures with many safety precautions put in place for this to happen.

Hayden woke up on Sunday 26th of April about one month in to lockdown with a BBC Journalist contacting him wanting to speak to him about filming him for a documentary. After having a chat Hayden then decided to accept the opportunity to broadcast a small insight of the voluntary work which was being undertaken. The next day he actually found out it was actually a Ross Kemp Documentary and he would also have the opportunity to have a video call with Ross himself to discuss the charity work Hayden had been assisting with. Hayden openly admits he is a big EastEnders’s fan but Phil was his favourite brother. All joking aside this was a great opportunity for a 24 year old veteran who now owns his own business to show others that age doesn’t matter, if you have a goal, go for it! Work hard and you will achieve your dreams. 8 days later Hayden was ready to be filmed with his lockdown haircut and was now ready to take the world by storm. On the morning of the filming Hayden picked up the food donations from Glasgow to be taken to Motherwell in where the filming crew were waiting with the cameras rolling. Hayden was then shadowed with the filming crew and interviewed giving an insight of what went on behind the scenes at the charity. The filming crew then followed Hayden back to Glasgow to where he was dropping some food off to veterans. The next day Hayden then had a video call with Ross Kemp to have a chat about what he had been up to with helping the charities and what inspired him to do this. Ross also questioned Hayden on his time served in the British Army in which Ross seemed to enjoy hearing about.

On the 20th of May four days after his son’s birthday, the Daily Record released an article on Hayden’s appearance on the Ross Kemp Documentary. The big secret was now out after Hayden was trying to keep it as quiet as possible. The following day Hayden appeared on Ross Kemp and Britain’s Volunteer Army Documentary Episode 4. Hayden then went out and completed another day of volunteering after being on the BBC One documentary earlier that day. This was then followed by more newspaper interviews and a personal thank you telephone call off of the local Renfrewshire MP. At the moment still in Phase 1 of lockdown Hayden has continued to volunteer helping charities frequently during the on-going pandemic.

Hayden has been asked several times why he has put himself of the front line again during a global pandemic. Hayden’s answer to this is from the day he joined the army he dedicated to put others in front of himself and by this Hayden felt a natural instinct to once again put others before himself to help those in need. At the young age of 24 Hayden has brought a lot of happiness and hope as well as restoring good faith in to this generation to show there is still many good-hearted people like himself out there.

This was a lovely statement wrote about Hayden by the Founder of Fares4Free charity David Gibson.

Why would one young man who we drove on one journey remember Fares4Free….?

To have helped Hayden in the smallest way in our work with the Army’s Personnel Recovery Unit and then have him approach us with an offer of help during the Covid outbreak means a lot. Hayden may not realise just how many people are helped each week by his contribution. The actual number is between 200 and 600. By helping Fares4Free, he is helping many organisations help their service users. He has helped homeless people move to permanent accommodation and has delivered food to many veterans and families. This has also extended on to the community as a whole. The Marie Trust, Turning Point, Poppy Scotland, Legion Scotland, VC AT THE KC, The Coming Home Centre, SACRO, Glasgow’s Helping Heroes, SAMH, the Homeless Veterans Project, the Armed Services Advice Project and many others are charities who’s service users have been helped. It is my hope that any attention Hayden can bring to his venture during this period, can keep his business on track during the recovery from the Covid outbreak. Already, organisations including the Royal Airforce Association have committed to making his business their first call for future moves that will help veterans in need. The lad has a heart of gold. I see him accomplishing much through business and in charity for many years to come. He just gets it.

David Gibson. (Founder) Fares4Free.

Here at HJG Removals the team are wishing you all well and hope you are all staying safe. Hope you have enjoyed hearing our pandemic journey and hopefully see you all soon.

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