About Mark Downie

My name is Mark Downie and I served in the Royal Marines from 1987 – 1997.

During training I was awarded the Commando Medal for the following qualities; Unselfishness, Cheerfulness Under Adversity, Courage & Determination.

I was operational for the majority of my Royal Marines service, protecting the UK’s nuclear deterrent on the West Coast of Scotland. I also travelled extensively during my  service, visiting countries such as Belize, Mexico, Portugal, Norway and Cyprus.

After leaving the Royal Marines I became a police officer, initially in Lothian & Borders Police before being seconded to the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency for 8 years and then finally with Police Scotland until 2020, when as a result of my military service, I retired after 24 years’ police service.

During both my military and police careers I was awarded HM Queen’s Diamond and Golden Jubilee medals as well as the Police Long Service Medal.

Since leaving the military I have continued my association with the Royal Marines. I was very proud to be part of the Royal Marines World Speedmarch team in 2017 that broke the World Record for running a marathon carrying 40lbs in weight.

To this day, along with my wife and children, I remain an active member of the Royal Marines Association / Club taking part in many events. I am part of the Directing Staff for the RMA / RM Club Winter deployments which offer Royal Marine Veterans and their Norwegian counterparts who have suffered life changing conditions some respite from everyday life struggles.

After the breakdown of my first marriage in 2008, I turned to the Shared Parenting Scotland (previously Families Need Fathers Scotland) for help and support. I was made very welcome and given invaluable insight, moral support and practical assistance over many years. When my own personal situation eased I continued to assist the charity, volunteering at meetings and raising money through sponsored sporting events. I was subsequently made a Trustee of the charity in 2017.

In 2020 I applied for and was successful in securing a staff position within Shared Parenting Scotland. My role is at the front end of public engagement where I answer calls on our helpline, dealing with a wide range of parenting/family/court issues. Our approach is to help parents as much as possible put the long term interests of their children at the centre of their thinking rather than collateral to be fought over. Research around the world shows that in general children do better in most areas of their life when they can be reassured of the support of both parents.

Because of my own background I identified that whilst there is a plethora of military charities offering fantastic support for a wide range of good causes there has been little, if any, specific support and help for military families with children that are separating /divorcing. At such a critical time families can find themselves in difficult terrain between civil institutions / procedures and military culture therefore I urged Shared Parenting Scotland to extend its experience and expertise to fill this gap.

Since taking over management of the Veterans/Military role within Shared Parenting Scotland, we have supported many veterans and military personnel. We now have strong relationships with other Veteran organisations such as Forces Children Scotland, Veterans 1st Point, SACRO Veterans Mentoring Service, Lothians Veterans Centre, Help for Heroes and others.

Shared Parenting Scotland was very grateful recently to receive funding from the Veterans Foundation to further support and underpin our existing work and to raise awareness of the service we can offer Military/Veterans and their families.

I am passionate that all military/veteran families and, above all, their children should be able to access proper support and help when separating.