Paul “JP” Marriot

Belisama’s Retreat was founded by Royal Artillery Veteran JP (John Paul) Marriot. He spent the cold war hidden in the German hinterland, defending a tactical nuclear missile from attack from elite Russian “Spetznaz” troops. He also found the time to qualify as an Army Physical Training Instructor, Army heavyweight boxing champion and Joint Services hammer thrower.

JP is an accomplished artist and freestyle tattooist, a passionate motorcyclist and is most happy with a large chainsaw in his hands. His canine companion, German Shepherd Brody isn’t really a “people person” but knows every inch of the Retreat and does a great job of keeping Belisama’s trespasser free!

After purchasing Belisama’s in 2017, JP set to with a Kukri and started hacking a path, through the jungle, and down to the river. When you visit, look at the tangled wildness on either side and compare it with the Retreat. The contrast is solely attributable to JP’s vision and determination. He is truly the founder of Belisama’s.

The task of improving the woodland and its facilities, developing its agricultural ecosystems to be sustainable and self-sufficient continues under JP’s capable leadership.

Steve Robinson

Steve Robinson Belisama's RetreatBritish Army Veteran, mountaineer, cave diver and wilderness explorer Steve Robinson joined Belisama’s in 2019. During his military service he lead mountaineering expeditions to the European Alps, Canadian Rockies and Himalaya, served two tours in Bosnia, completed combat survival training, arctic warfare training with 3 Commando Brigade (Royal Marines) and alpine mountain training with the Italian “Alpini” Corps.

After leaving the Army in 1999, Steve pursued a high-pressure career in business management and consultancy before both having a heart attack and being diagnosed with PTSD in 2017. This “double whammy” prompted him to make an escape from corporate slavery to do something that actually added value to the world. Shortly after he visited Belisama’s for the first time and in 2019 he joined the Belisama’s team full time.

Steve is a Mountain Leader, SPSA (Single pitch supervisor) qualified and an Archery GB Coach . He is also an accomplished caver and cave diver and has served as a Training Officer & assessor for the Cave Diving Group of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

His dog, German Shepherd/Newfoundland cross Tikaani (Teeka) may be huge but she has a heart of gold and has been nicknamed the “Belisama’s therapy dog”.

Carl Shears

Hi my name is Carl. I’m a fully qualified psychotherapist counsellor based in Wigan at ‘Army community HQ’. Where I counsel veterans suffering from a wide range of traumas such as: anxiety, grief, relationship breakdown, Shame, depression and all the other things that intrude into their lives and reduce its quality. I’m also researching into ‘what the barriers and facilitators are to veterans wanting to access counselling’.

In my earlier life I was a soldier in the Guards and experienced all the fun, pride, exhilaration, fun, comradeship, fun, madness, exasperation, fun, rage, anger, shame and fear. That came with the shilling and made me who I am today.

I get down to the retreat as often as I can and if required when I’m needed, I come because I really enjoy the place and the therapeutic bubble it provides for the veterans that go there, it’s a place were they can rest, rationalise, reset and recharge themselves. When I’m there I offer and give one to one counselling sessions. So if you see me and you wanna chat let me know and I will always make time.