A GULF War veteran running a property management firm is helping ex-servicemen and women launch businesses on civvy street.

Richard Tucker is now an ambassador for social enterprise X-Forces.

The venture helps former military personnel set up companies.

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Mr Tucker, who is from Darlington and served in the RAF during the first Gulf War, was appointed an ambassador for northern England in a ceremony at Gateshead’s HMS Calliope.

Awarded an MBE for services to business and the local community, Mr Tucker set up AAA Property (North-East) after leaving the RAF.

After initially concentrating on property management and student accommodation in Durham City, the company has since extended into Scotland and North Yorkshire, while it also has a partnership with Teessidebased estate agency board erection operator Snaith Signs.

Reacting to his X-Forces honour, Mr Tucker said: “It is a tremendous honour to become an ambassador.

“I have seen at first-hand how X-Forces can be a power for good; the help it gave my company was invaluable.

“I hope to pass on the benefit of my experience to other ex-services personnel from the region who are looking to start their own businesses.”

Mr Tucker runs his firm with daughter Alison, and already employs a number of ex-services personnel.

He added: “By employing ex-military personnel, I know I have a workforce I can completely rely on.”

Ren Kapur, the charity’s chief executive, said Mr Tucker will bring great experience and insight to XForces.

She added: “Richard not only brings the values and attributes from the Armed Forces into his own business, but also supports other budding entrepreneurs to unlock their talents from the Armed Forces.

“I am so delighted he has become an X-Forces ambassador for the North-East.

“The team will be working closely with Richard, and his daughter Alison, to support even more Armed Forces in business in the region.”