The founder of an Ardrossan charity has been named among the winners at an awards ceremony celebrating the business achievements of former armed services personnel.

Alan Bell was named 'Inspiration of the Year' at the Scottish Ex-Forces in Business Awards.

And just days later, his charity, The Scottish Centre for Personal Safety won another major award - “Safety Training Provider of the Year”  at the Business Awards UK Health and Safety Awards 2024.

The former Royal Military Police officer was acclaimed for his outstanding work in developing personal safety courses for people with learning disabilities and autism. 

Alan, who writes the Ardross-Man column for the Herald, received his award at a ceremony in Glasgow, hosted by TV presenter Sally Magnusson.

Alan said: “I really didn’t expect to win this award as the other finalists were awesome, so this is such an honour.

"The Scottish Ex-Forces Awards are a great way to highlight the achievements of former military personnel and hopefully change people’s perspective for the better. Ex-forces get a bad reputation, often connected with homelessness and alcoholism.

"By showcasing the successes of ex-forces personnel, these awards demonstrate how having a military background can add value to the workplace.

"And I’m delighted to have my former peers award me ‘Inspiration of the Year’ for my work in developing empowering personal safety courses for vulnerable people, most recently people with learning disabilities.”

A spokesperson for the Ex-Forces in Business Awards said: "Having served with the Royal Military Police, Alan has taken his regiment’s motto ‘Exemplo Ducemus’ – ‘By Example, We Lead’ – and carried this standard forward into his civilian life and business.

"He turned a part-time hobby of teaching personal safety and self defence skills learned during his military career into a full-time charity, the Scottish Centre for Personal Safety, now based at the Barony St John Centre in Ardrossan.

"Over the years, as Alan has developed courses for people with sensory impairment, people with dwarfism and for female victims of violence, his charity has won multiple national awards for excellence.

"It is Alan’s development of a course for people with learning disabilities that has saw him reach the final of the Ex-Forces in Business Awards 2024 in the category of 'Inspiration of the Year’ – exemplifying his regiment’s motto."

Alan was made an MBE in the New Year honours list at the end of 2022 in recognition of his work

The awards are aimed at showcasing the diverse talents of the armed forces community to employers.

In recent years the awards have recognised the business achievements of more than 1,500 veterans and reservists while also raising more than £300,000 for charity partner SSAFA.

The finalists were whittled down from more than 300 nominations.