Childhood sweethearts Brian and Doris Andrews had no idea what life had in store for them when they met at a dance in 1952 aged just 16 and 17.
Shortly after joining the RAF Brian was caught up in a serious incident in Cyprus and was told he would never walk again and it was unlikely that he'd have children and possibly die young; Brian has defied all the odds and proved everyone wrong. In this blog Brian tells us more.
"From a young age I had always wanted to join the Royal Air Force and wanted to go in as aircrew but sadly being colour-blind this was never going to be an option. I signed up at 18 for 12 years and did basic training at West Kirby near Liverpool; I was one of the few airmen to have both the bandsman and marksman badges.
"After training I applied for postings that would allow me to be close to Doris, who was working as a hairdresser in Hatch End, as we were engaged by then, but I was posted to Cyprus with the Joint Air Reconnaissance Centre based in Episkopi.
"It is a lovely Island but it was a scary time to be to there."
Not long into his tour the vehicle AC Andrews was travelling in was involved in a serious incident which killed the person in the passenger seat and seriously injured Brian and one other.
"I was in a coma for 10 days and woke up in hospital. I had severely damaged my pelvis, both my legs and spine and I had a hole in the side of my head the size of a chicken's egg. I had ambitions of a long career in the RAF but I was medically discharged at the age of 20 years old."
Doris said: "We were engaged at the time and I think he thought I would run away. The doctor called me in and told me that he would possibly die young, would not be able to have children and walk. But I said that's life - you just carry on and here we are 57 years later with a wonderful family still making each other laugh."
Brian and Doris Andrews have been supported by the Fund for over 40 years. The Fund stepped in to help the couple on account of Brian’s worsening medical condition purchasing the home they were living in and subsequently transferring the couple to their present bungalow in Hailsham in 1978 due to his worsening medical condition.
More recently the Fund has also assisted the couple with a special profiling bed, seats and a wheelchair to help Brian remain independent.
Brian continued: "I can’t thank the Fund enough for all their support over the years."
Recently the couple had a visit from their local MP Nus Ghani and their local Councillor. Nus, who sits on the Armed Forces Parliamentary Group, wanted to see first-hand how the charity was supporting individuals in her constituency.
Last year the RAF Benevolent Fund spent over £109,000 supporting 81 individuals living in Sussex.