The supporter profile in this edition of The Flagship is Hon Commander Lance Batchelor RNR, Vice Patron on the RNRMC. Not only a committed philanthropist, Commander Batchelor RNR has an MBA from Harvard Business School and is currently the CEO of Saga plc – a FTSE-listed finance company.

Before his success in business, Lance Batchelor served eight years in the Royal Navy. Achieving the rank of Flag Lieutenant to the Flag Officer Submarines, Lance understands how important support for our naval family is and explains how his experience in the navy has shaped his own career success.

Your naval career began in 1982 – you must have some interesting stories to tell from that time?

I think the most memorable time, was serving as a junior officer in hunter killers at the height of the cold war and deploying in various directions, especially north, to monitor the soviet submarine threat.

I was a young man, hundreds of feet under the water, watching the Soviet Navy and in a very real and tangible way feeling like we were keeping the peace and doing something important.

What did you find was the hardest aspect of serving the naval fleet?

I met my wife in sixth form and going through seven years of separation was tough. It’s the worst thing about being in the Navy, without doubt, and especially as a submariner in the Cold War.

When did you realise that the Navy had given you such a strong foundation for your career?

I think there was about a ten year hiatus from leaving until it dawned on me in my late thirties what an important part of my foundation had come from being in the Navy.

I started to realise that my management style was fundamentally shaped by the philosophy of the Royal Navy’s leadership and is ingrained into who I am and what I do.

You’re one of our Patrons and a committed supporter of the RNRMC and the Naval Family. Why did you get involved in the charity?

I’ve seen what a new Mess looks like on a new ship and it’s just bare plastic; there is no money to help from the Government to turn that into a nice living space for people who spend years of their lives in. So for me to help in a small way, to make the living conditions of sailors and marines better, is incredibly worthwhile.

It’s important because I know that if things aren’t right at home, there’s absolutely no way you are going to get 100% out of the sailor or the marine at sea.

As a Patron, you have seen the work that the RNRMC undertakes first-hand. What would you say to others to encourage them to support the RNRMC?

I think there is a moral imperative. We can’t expect young men and women to go to sea and [for] us not support them.

I have a very deep emotional commitment to the Navy; to what it stands for, to its role in our national identity and culture and history; to what it still does.

When I meet the young sailors and marines it really reinforces to me the emotional connections that I feel and the fact that I want this really to help them- and I am lucky enough to be in a stage in my life where I can, so I’m going to.