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Case studies

A few stories of people who were helped by the Royal Observer Corps Benevolent Fund.

Fred Simmonds

Fred Simmonds

Fred served in the Royal Observer Corps during the sixties at the height of the Cold War and the internationally sensitive years after the Cuban Missile Crisis. The Royal Observer Corps was a highly trained and ready part of the nation's defence and Fred was one of the thousands of volunteers who did their bit in those tense times. Many years have passed and Fred is not as mobile as he once was.

He was in need of improvements to ease access from the house to the garden: a costly but necessary job and the Royal Observer Corps Benevolent Fund was there to help to make life easier for Fred and his wife Michelle. Working together with SSAFA, the ROCBF were able to make arrangements for the work to be done. Fred and Michelle were delighted with the alterations, allowing Fred, one of the keenest of gardeners and shed dwellers, to potter and plant to his heart's content.

Fred said: "I'd been battling with some long-term health problems and I needed someone with me during the day, so Michelle my wife decided to leave her employment which meant we were not in a position to make the improvements to the garden. We were speaking to another ROC friend who suggested applying to ROCBF.

"During the process of applying for assistance, we were treated with dignity and respect. It was a painless and confidential experience which led to the ramp being built, giving me my independence back in my beloved garden. Thank you everyone."

Mark Barton

Mark Barton

Mark is a former Observer and Territorial Army soldier. As a member of the Royal Observer Corps, he was based near Wye at Post 31 in an underground bunker at the end of the Cold War.

He suffers from Charcot Marie Tooth Disease (CMT1A) which affects him in many ways from finger-locking, forearm pain/numbness to fatigue. More recently his ankle stability worsened and both feet became deformed, with Club Foot and Hammer Toes making it difficult and painful to walk.

He needed urgent corrective surgery and was unable to leave his house without the use of a frame or wheelchair. Working with SSAFA, the Royal Observer Corps Benevolent Fund were able to fund and supply an electric riser/recliner chair to aid Mark's recovery at home.

Mark said: "It is very humbling to know that other people care, that volunteers and charitable donations made to the Royal Observer Corps Benevolent Fund helped me so long after we were 'Stood Down' but not forgotten."

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