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"The best present I've ever had!"

When RAF veteran Stanley Lavender suffered a stroke in 2014, he lost his independence. Now, he's encouraging others like him to ask for help should they find themselves in need. In this blog, he tells us how the RAF Benevolent Fund turned his life around.

After his stroke in 2014, Stanley (known to his friends as Sam), found himself housebound and no longer able to drive after being left with weakness to his left side. With reduced mobility and unable to visit friends or run errands, Sam's independence was affected.

Sam Lavender with his scooter

Sam, of Amesbury, explained: "I was housebound and couldn’t go out. My brother would drive me to places when he could but for about three months I couldn't leave the house. It was awful."

The RAF's leading welfare charity, the RAF Benevolent Fund, arranged for a caseworker to visit Sam to see how they could offer support. The charity was able to provide a mobility scooter along with a storage unit and power supply, allowing Sam to get out and about once again, instantly improving his quality of life.

Sam said: "The scooter is marvellous, I go everywhere in it. It's so nice to just jump on and go out and see my friends. I couldn't be without it.

"It's the best present I've ever had!"

Sam was eligible for support from the Fund due to his service in the RAF as a military transport driver in 1947. Joining aged 19, he served with the RAF for five years. His two older brothers also served in the RAF during the Second World War.
Sam, now 89-years-old, lives alone in Amesbury, with his children and grandchildren visiting regularly. Urging others to approach the RAF Benevolent Fund should they find themselves in need, Sam said: "I can't understand why people don't ask for help. If people find themselves in my position they should ask for support. I'm very pleased I did!"

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