Gemma is now part of the EFF team as our accounts manager. She is an Army wife and Mum to two boys. Here’s her story about their military journey together…
I actually met my husband, Paul, through my sister (now there’s an interesting story!) He was in Chatham at the time, close to where I lived and grew up. We started dating in 2006, but then Paul was posted to Germany, so I already had to get to grips with a long-distance relationship which consisted of Blueys and Skype! We saw each other as often as we could, and we just ‘clicked’. The day that Paul left for his posting to Northern Ireland in June 2007, we found out that I was pregnant! As we weren’t married, I stayed in Kent with my family but Paul came back for Freddie’s birth. A few weeks after Freddie was born, I found out that I had passed my AAT exam (Association of Accounting Technicians).
We got engaged in June 2008, whilst I was still on maternity leave. We were planning to get married the following year, but a cancellation arose at our venue so we got married in the September instead. Just two weeks later, Freddie and I moved out to Northern Ireland to join Paul at RAF Aldergrove.
The following month, I got a job as an accounts assistant with a private medical company, where I worked until leaving Northern Ireland in February 2011. Paul was then posted to 36 Engineers in Maidstone, Kent, and the week that we were due to move, we found out that I was pregnant again! After we moved, I worked for the local NHS trust as a maternity assistant, which I loved, but I decided not to return to work after Alastair was born in October 2011. Paul then did a tour of Afghan in 2012, and I was very grateful for the support of my family close by! I was lucky that I was able to take 2.5 years off work to be a stay at home Mum.
As the boys got older and more independent I was itching to return to work. In May 2014 I became an Assistant Accountant at a firm in Crayford. Our next posting came in September 2015; Chivenor, Devon. I had gotten so reliant on my family’s support and had made such amazing friends in Kent I knew that I would struggle with this posting! It was impossible for me to find a suitable job which was also flexible around the boys, so in the December I decided to apply for my AAT practice licence, which meant that I could work self-employed. It’s a rigorous process; I had to prove that I am competent in various areas of accountancy so that I’m allowed to practice in them, and I have to renew my licence every year. I set up Braunton Bookkeeping, as well as sub-contracting work too.
In February 2016 I managed to find a part-time job with a local furniture company balancing their books, as well as remaining self-employed. Having done some work for Evolution Forces Families in the past, Nadine asked me if I’d like to become part of the team as their accounts manager. Of course I said yes, and I’m looking forward to working with them. I am here to support the EFF team with their finances so that they can concentrate on doing what they do best and helping others to achieve their goals and dreams.