A former Army man has started up his own taxi business employing ex-servicemen hoping to adjust to civilian life.
Tolworth man Paul Reynolds, 58, left the Army in 1980 after tours serving in Northern Ireland, Germany, Denmark and Canada.
But earlier this year he put together a business plan and got a loan of £28,000 to start up New Malden-based Heroes Cars with business partner Ali Dilawari.
It is now the country’s first car social enterprise company, which hopes to employ former Army personnel and pay back a percentage of its profits to charities that help to rehabilitate soldiers.
Mr Reynolds said: “A lot of them come out of the Army and think ‘I know I’ll do security’. But they don’t need to do that – they have a bigger skill set.”
The father-of-two added military men were already used to working long hours, looking smart and reading maps so would make perfect drivers.
Heroes Cars, which currently has five drivers, was started up with the help of Government-funded scheme, X-Forces, a service that offers help and advice to military veterans to put their skills to good use.
X-Forces has helped to establish more than 170 companies and secured loans of up to £1.5m in its first year.
Mr Reynolds, who has dyslexia, said: “I went to my business partner who I had known for 20 years with five bits of handwritten paper and he said ‘That won’t do’. But we did it and set it up.
“Now we want to give back to the community and help the charities that need it.”
In his spare time Mr Reynolds enjoys having a good barbecue and watching Formula 1 and boxing on TV.
On being nominated an unsung hero, Mr Reynolds said: “I have not really started helping enough people yet.
“I want it to take off in a big way and help people that need it.
“I don’t see anything heroic in it.”
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