Colburn distiller helps Army support the NHS during pandemic

Tony and Sarah Brotherton with their family.

A distillery owner and Army officer is helping the military to support the NHS overcome the Covid-19 pandemic.

Major Tony Brotherton, 43, runs the Colburn-based Yorkshire Dales Distillery while continuing to work part-time for the Army.

The lockdown has meant the company has stopped making spirits, with Tony going back to work full-time for the military, where he is working at 4th Infantry Brigade’s Catterick Garrison headquarters and helping the British Army support the work of the NHS.

He said: “On the day on which we had to turn our very much full-time distillery into a less than part time operation, I was able to step straight out of one uniform and into another.

“Having spent the last three years throwing our hearts and souls into building our craft business, it’s more than possible that it will survive.

“My thoughts are with the small independent shopkeepers, pub, bar, restaurant, hotel, café and B&B owners who enabled us to grow the distillery from the ground upwards. We hope to see you all on the other side.”

Tony said the adjustment from full-time distiller and part-time Army officer to part-time distiller and full time Army officer has been frustrating.

“Helping to co-ordinate defence’s support to the NHS has meant long days and rapid readjustment.

“Some days are immensely satisfying, on others it is difficult to feel that I am making much of a difference.

“The days are long but every evening I get to go home to my family without fear of making them ill.

“I don’t have to wear PPE during this operation or worry about making my patients ill.

“I don’t have to worry about whether I could have done more for the last patient whilst gearing up to deal with the next.”

Tony said he came through operational tours relatively unscathed and was now a member of a “strong formal and informal Veterans community that takes many guises across the length and breadth of the country”.

He added: “We have much to offer. In the days, weeks, months and years ahead we must all come together. Our society must become genuinely ‘big’. Let us not forget the veterans.

“Equally, let us remember the NHS staff, the care home workers, the caring family members, friends and neighbours and everyone who has worked so hard and given so much to bring us all through.

“When climate change is once again the biggest story, they will need our experience and our help.” [kofi]