From uniformed services to civilian life,
we provide help and advice
Call us: 01772 894039


The College of Military Veterans and Emergency Services (CMVES) is overseen by a steering group whose members represent the military, academia, 42 Brigade Headquarters North West (HQNW) and the CMVES project team. Everyone involved in CMVES has strong ties to the military and expertise in helping ex-service personnel make a successful transition to civilian life.

Professor Mike Thomas PhD, MA, BNurs, RMN, RNT, FRSA, MBPS, FHEA

Professor Mike Thomas served as a submariner in the Royal Navy prior to qualifying as a mental health nurse. He is currently Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Organisational Leadership at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston, England. His research interests are leadership and kindness during periods of uncertainty, mental health trauma and promoting mental health wellbeing. In a career spanning over thirty years in mental health care he has served as a Pro Vice-Chancellor, Dean of two different Faculties and held three previous Professorships in different universities. Mike has numerous publications, presents papers across the world, continues to maintain a clinical provision and currently supervises twelve doctoral students. He co-founded the Centre for Veterans' Wellbeing in North-West England and founded the College for Military Veterans and Emergency Services with academic and service colleagues.

Colonel Alan Finnegan PhD RN FRCN L/QARANC

Colonel Finnegan was commissioned into the British Army in 1987. His clinical background is in Mental Health. He has deployed to Iraq, the Balkans, Northern Ireland, South Africa and Afghanistan. He has served as a Nurse Consultant in Military Mental Health and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) Specialist Nursing Advisor in Mental Health. He is currently serving as the UK MoD Professor of Nursing. His research interests are military mental health and defence nursing. He was pivotal to the establishment of the Royal College of Nursing Defence Forum, and then served as Chairman from 2004 until 2011. He is a member of the RCN International Committee and Chairman of the British Army Nursing Research Professoriate. Alan is Visiting Professor of Army Nursing at Birmingham City University, Honorary Professor in Mental Health at the University of Central Lancashire and University of Chester, and Full Professor of Nursing at the University of South Florida. Alan is a Committee Member of the Nurse Education Today Editorial Board. Awards include: Professional Nurse of the Year – Mental Health Award 1998; British Journal of Nursing – Nurse of the Year Award (Defence Nursing Category) 2011; RCN Research Society Akinsanya Award for Excellence in Doctrinal Research Studies – Runner Up in 2012.

Jennifer (Jenny) Stone MSc, PG Cert, PGCE, QTLS, BSc, FIFL, MCMI

Jenny is an associate lecturer in Further Education and Training at Edge Hill University. She is a member of the Army Reserves, serving with 156 Regiment RLC and has 14 years regular army experience where she served with both the Royal Logistic Corps and the Educational and Training Services Branch of the Adjutant Generals Corps. As well as military service Jenny has also worked in the charity sector in a senior management position, overseeing commissioned and voluntary projects throughout the UK. She is passionate about helping veterans and has recently developed an app to help with the transition into civilian-street.

Dr Celia Hynes PhD, MA, BA Ed, RNT, RCNT, RSCN, RN

Celia grew up within a military family and chose a career in Nursing. Following her specialist practice in children’s intensive care she entered nurse education in 1988 as a lecturer/practitioner becoming a full-time lecturer in Children’s nursing in 1990. She progressed to hold senior positions within the School of Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work and Social Sciences at the University of Salford, including Associate Head of Teaching and Learning and two Director Roles across Adult nursing and Post Graduate studies before returning to a senior lecturer role that then enabled her to focus more closely on working with the ex-service personnel and their families. She has effectively led the programme of transition for military service personnel and their families formally for the last five years being co-founder of the initial Centre for Veterans' Wellbeing in the North West of England and is now one of the founders of the College for Military Veterans and Emergency services. Her research interest is in human relationships and psychoanalytic work especially relating to leadership and management. She supervises five PhD students with studies in similar fields. She has a variety of publications and presentations at a national and international level.

Dr Hugh McKenna CBE, PhD, B.Sc(Hons), RMN, RGN, RNT, DipN(Lond), AdvDipEd

Dr McKenna is professor and Pro Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation at the Ulster University. He is a general and mental health nurse. He has over 250 publications including 11 books and over £4 million in grants. He has supervised 16 PhD students to successful completion. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing, Fellow of the European Academy of Nursing and Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland. In 2008 he was made CBE for his work on health and community. He is Honorary Colonel for 253 Medical Regiment and one of three Judges on the Military and Civilian Health Partnership Awards.

In 2009 he obtained a Senior Distinguished Research Fellowship and was made a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing (FAAN) – only the third person in Europe and the fifteenth worldwide to be given this honour. He chaired the UK REF2014 panel for nursing, allied health professions, pharmacy and dentistry. He chairs the Hong Kong Accreditation Panel and the Swedish Health Sciences Research Council. He is an Adjunct/Visiting Professor at the University of Texas, University of Slovenia, University of Technology, Sydney and Trinity College Dublin, and Head of the Visiting Committee at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Stuart Kilmartin

Stuart has worked for the Deparment of Work and Pensions (DWP) since 1987 undertaking a wide range of roles including benefit administration, front line customer facing services (with many years as a visiting officer), performance measurement, project management and managerial duties.

He currently works in LEAN/ Continuous Improvement within DWP and across other government departments undertaking business process improvement activity and delivering LEAN training to civil servants. Stuart is a qualified LEAN Expert accredited by Cardiff University.

Stuart’s passion lies in sport. He has represented the civil service regionally and nationally at rugby league and union also playing for a local club to a high amateur level until recurrent shoulder injuries forced him into retirement in 2005.

Now a keen endurance athlete, Stuart has completed numerous Triathlons, Duathlons, cycling and running challenges including Tour de Forces, Paras 10 and The Army Challenge events to raise finances and awareness of military veterans.

Stuart assists his local council voluntarily in his marginal time to run the Couch to 5K incentive- a nine week programme supporting local residents to improve their health and fitness. He has coached over three hundred people including a number of military veterans through the scheme since it began.

He has a strong understanding to the connection that health, fitness and sport can play a vital role in increasing an individual’s self-worth and build confidence. These are necessary to ensure effective transition into civilian life especially for injured service personnel.

Stuart is interested in the rehabilitation area of military veterans for example Team True Spirit and the Battle Back initiatives.

Colonel Phil Harrison L/RAMC Deputy Commander 42 Infantry Brigade

Colonel Phil Harrison Late RAMC was born in Manchester in 1964. After school he entered into an apprenticeship in Motor Vehicle Technology. During his time as an apprentice he joined the Royal Devon Yeomanry Territorial Army, joining the Regular Army in 1984. He trained as a Control Equipment Technician in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. He was selected for a commission at the Regular Commissions Board and attended the Standard Military Course at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 1990.

Much of his early career was spent commanding soldiers in field Units in Germany. Prior to becoming the British Army Exchange Officer in Canada, he commanded a Medical Squadron supporting 4 Armoured Brigade on Operation GRAPPLE in the Former Republic of Yugoslavia.

On return from Canada he was appointed as SO2 Med in Headquarters Northern Ireland. Here he was responsible for redeveloping the Province’s primary care, physiotherapy and rehabilitation services. He was engaged in the study to replace the Duke of Connaught Unit and was instrumental in developing the civil – military response to major incidents post Omagh bomb. For his work in Northern Ireland he was awarded a Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service.

Following this appointment he assumed command of A Squadron 1 CS Med Regt supporting 7 Armoured Brigade and culminating in a squadron group deployment on Operation AGRICOLA in Kosovo.

He was selected for promotion in 2001 and assumed the appointment of Director of Operations within Medical Supplies Agency. Early in his tenure the Agency moved into the DLO. He was responsible for the small medical logistics team which supported Operation TELIC and deployed in role to Iraq towards the end of the initial operation. For his work in the MSA he was awarded a Chief of Defence Logistics commendation.

He then assumed Command of 5 General Support Medical Regiment. Throughout the tenure of his Command the theme of Iraq endured. The Regiment deployed personnel on all of the first seven TELIC serials and had a Regimental deployment which he commanded on Op TELIC 5.

Following Command he served within 2nd Medical Brigade as Chief Instructor at the Army Medical Services Training Centre and as the SO1 Officers within the APC. In November 2006 he was selected for promotion and assumed the appointment of Training Comdt, within RCDM in April 2007. In Jul 2008 he assumed the appointment of Commander of the Defence Medical Services Training Group. Next he assumed the appointment of Colonel Career Management AMS at the Army Personnel Centre in June 2011. In June 2013 he was appointed as the first incumbent of the new appointment of Corps Colonel Army Medical Services. After establishing the appointment of Corps Colonel AMS, Colonel Harrison was then selected to become the Deputy Commander of 42 Infantry Brigade, a new post established on the Brigade’s transformation from a Regional to a Light Role Infantry Brigade.

Colonel Harrison is an avid off road motorcyclist and Manchester United supporter. He is the Chairman of the Army Medical Services Football and Cricket which he continues to play. His dislikes include Manchester City and washing up!