About Us

Celebrating Veterans

We are a non-profit organisation that supports families and celebrates veterans, both young and old.

A note from our Chairperson:


I’m Erica Hanson, Chairperson for the Telford Veterans Trail - a dedicated trail of honorary plaques laid through Telford Town Park, Shropshire, which recognises the service and dedication of UK veterans and serving forces personnel – providing a lasting tribute to their time in HM Forces.

The Telford Veterans Trail has been a labour of love of mine for over six years, inspired by the truly amazing National Veterans Walk in Sunderland and my commitment to honouring the veterans in my own town (including my husband Mac who enjoyed a lengthy career in the Armed Forces). Indeed I believe that every town needs to celebrate its veterans in some way.

I submitted my idea for Telford’s 50th Birthday celebrations, and thanks to the committee members and a most generous donation from Balfour Beatty, I’m delighted that my vision has become a reality.

Telford is the perfect place to celebrate veterans. It has many military links and there are, at the time of writing, 8066 veterans and over 16,000 service personnel living in the Borough. And it’s these individuals that the Telford Veterans Trail wants to celebrate, creating a dedicated place to recognise their contribution and bravery. Because sadly it is often those living veterans who are forgotten.

As a nation we are great at remembering the fallen, but we have a long way to go in giving thanks for the service of living veterans, hence the Telford Veterans Trail motto is ‘Saluting Today’s Veterans’.

I am immensely proud to stand as Chairperson for the Telford Veterans Trail, and hope the trail will become a treasured setting forevermore - providing a source of celebration, comfort and reflection for both veterans and those still serving with HM Forces today.

With best wishes and the utmost respect for our veterans and service personnel,


Who We Are

The Telford Veterans Trail is a non-profit organisation with charity status. Our mission is to shine the spotlight on the many HM Forces veterans in the Borough along with those still currently in service.

We are run by veterans, working in partnership with Owens Memorials, and are supported by The Rotary Club, and Telford and Wrekin Council - who kindly donated the ground on which the trail sits. The Telford Veterans Trail was opened by Her Majesty the Queen Consort on 14th March 2023, and a celebratory Opening Ceremony was then enjoyed on 28th June attended by Deputy Lieutenant Major Sam Brettell, Mayor Arnold England, the Right Hon. Lucy Allan MP, Councillor Raj Metha, and also representatives of the Royal British Legion. Music was provided by the wonderful Wellington (Telford) Brass Band.

What We Do

The trail celebrates veterans, young and old, and provides a place for reflection. Veterans who have sadly passed can also be commemorated here with a lasting memorial plaque displayed in their honour. Plaques can be purchased as a unique gift to celebrate current serving personnel, and make the perfect retirement gift for someone leaving His Majesty’s Armed Forces.

Telford Veterans Trail carefully liaise with those wishing to make one of these special investments, and thereafter organise their secure installation. The upkeep of both the trail and each of its new additions is of utmost importance to us - ensuring a beautiful and permanent celebration for those who have served or are still serving in HM Forces.

Why We Do It

The Telford Veterans Trail was created to celebrate the service, contribution and unwavering dedication to their country of both the UK’s Armed Forces veterans and active service members. By creating this trail our vision is to promote the welfare of veterans and to keep it at the forefront of the local Council’s agenda.

Alongside the provision of this wonderful focal point, we also work tirelessly to fundraise for local veteran charities in order to support their welfare. And we pledge to donate 10% of the sale proceeds from each new plaque to our chosen veteran charity, which is voted upon each year.

The charity we are proud to be supporting in 2023 is the AFVBC - the Armed Forces and Veterans Breakfast Clubs - who facilitate the face-to-face meeting of veterans and serving Armed Forces personnel in a relaxed, safe, social environment to enjoy breakfast and banter, to combat loneliness and allow veterans to ‘return to the tribe’.

What We Stand For

  • • Honour | We believe that all veterans, young and old, deserve to be recognised for their dedication and commitment to our country.
  • • Celebration | We want to celebrate not only our veterans but also all active service members of the HM Armed Forces, providing a place for reflection for everyone.
  • • Recognition | We aim to keep the welfare of our veterans in the forefront of the mind of our local council and communities.
  • • Support | We pledge to fundraise for local veteran charities to continue to support the welfare of our veterans.
  • • Pride | We want to encourage all members of our community to hold a deserved level of pride for our veterans and service personnel and the dedication and commitment they gave - and continue to give - to our country.

Why We Stand Out

  • • We are ourselves veterans who’ve proudly served our country, so we understand first-hand how difficult that transition to ‘civvy street’ can be. We therefore fully appreciate what a commemorative project like the Telford Veterans Trail means to our veterans and serving members.
  • • We believe that every town should in some way commemorate its living veterans. We are proud to have created the Telford Veterans Trail to provide our local community with a permanent location for the celebration of, and reflection for, our veterans.
  • • We are actively fundraising at every opportunity to continue to give back to our veterans and to promote and aid their welfare.
  • • We aim to educate all generations on the importance of recognising and respecting those who have dedicated their lives to bringing them a better future. The location of the trail within Telford Town Park means that our youngest generation are able to be educated on this importance by older generations during their regular visits to the play areas.

Our People

Erica Hanson-McKenzie, Chairperson

Erica grew up adamant that she would one day join the Army. It was the only thing she spoke about and there are photographs of her as a child practising her salute in the mirror, which she is still teased about today.

Erica signed up in 1990, at the tender age of 18 years old, leaving behind her beloved home town of Preston, Lancashire, and heading off to Guildford to start the rewarding career she had dreamt about. Erica proudly served in Germany, Canada and back in the UK, and also completed three tours - Op, Banner and Grapple.

After nine years she decided to retire from the Army to pursue her other ambition of a career with the Police Force. But it wasn't until she actually left the Army that Erica realised that she had been sheltered from reality during her time serving her country, and she found the transition to 'civvy street’ quite challenging.

Erica was extremely fortunate in that she had a good support network around her, and so it wasn't too long before she was back in uniform, albeit a different one. After many years of travelling with her husband Mac, they decided to settle in Shropshire, and Telford became their home.

Nicholas McKenzie, Deputy Chairperson

Nicholas (‘Mac’) has served 35 years in His Majesty's Armed Forces. He has been based all over the world during his lengthy and rewarding career, including operationally in Northern Ireland, the Balkans, and Iraq.

Nicholas is now based in the West Midlands as a Full Time Reservist, undertaking the role of Transport Manager. He is married to Erica and his interests include Sub Aqua Diving with the injured, and Marathon Running. He also enjoys watching live sports such as boxing, cricket and football.

Mick Kilburn, Committee Member

Mick is a Yorkshireman in his fifties who has settled in Telford after serving 23 years with the Royal Signals.

Mick spent his youth growing up in a Services family, which meant moving every few years to differing parts of the world. He was educated to Secondary School level in York, before ‘escaping’ to the military at the young age of 16.

Mick loved the Army, and after a relatively slow start he began to apply himself and crafted a long and successful career, considering himself fortunate to achieve promotion to the senior soldier rank of Warrant Officer First Class.

Mick remained in trade at senior non-commissioned officer level and was selected for, and passed, the Yeoman of Signals course. His final posting was in Donnington, where he was successful on the Late Entry Commissioning Board, but family priorities saw him retire to pursue a civilian career. Mick is now currently serving as a Police Officer.

Mick has been married to Fiona Kilburn for 18 years and they have two adult children and dote on their two young grandchildren.

Fiona Kilburn,

Fiona had a nomadic upbringing being part of a Services family and moved around a great deal. She spent her teenage years in the North East where she completed her Secondary education.

Fiona was a keen sportswoman in her youth - excelling in Judo and becoming a black belt at age 15, before continuing on to attain 4th Dan grade. She was selected to represent the Adult Team GB at just 15 years old, and subsequently enjoyed a very successful career with them.

Fiona ceased highly competitive judo when she started a family, although she still kept up her skills and was very competitive nationally. She chose a new career in finance and currently still works in that field on a very successful self-employed basis.

Fiona is passionate about both her military ties and the general veterans causes. She is the long suffering wife of Mick Kilburn with 18 years of marriage, two adult children, and two young grandchildren under her family belt.

Katrina Baker, Secretary

Katrina Baker MBE, is a Clerk at Hollinswood and Randlay Parish Council and President of Shropshire Association of Local Councils.

She finds it an absolute privilege to work alongside dedicated individuals, supporting them with unique and special projects and events. She is particularly proud to be part of the Committee, and a Trustee, for the Telford Veterans Trail - driving forward this project to create a special place of quiet reflection within Telford Town Park.

Katrina has supported the installation of the trail near to the War Memorial, including its designated benches within a collection of trees that are defined by serene lighting - creating a welcoming place for local residents and visitors. Hollinswood and Randlay Parish Council hosts an annual Remembrance Sunday service in Telford Town Park which is well attended, and Katrina will continue to support the development of the trail over time as more plaques are dedicated to our local veterans.

David Sear, Treasurer

Deputy Lieutenant of Shropshire

Cindy Mason-Smith, Committee Member

Military Family and Armed Forces Covenant Representative

Kim Bailey,

Marc Lewis,

Working in partnership

The Telfords Veteran Trail is in association with Telford and Wrekin Council, Rotary Club and Owens Memorials.