Margot Corbin's father, Flight Lieutenant Jimmy Corbin DFC, was the last of the 10 Battle of Britain Spitfire pilots, known as Churchill's 'The Few'. Jimmy sadly passed away in 2012 but the RAF Benevolent Fund has supported Jimmy's wife, Jeanne, who suffers from Alzheimer's. In this blog, Margot explains that she'll not only be thinking of her mum this Mother's Day but her dad too.
Sadly I'm not sure if mum is even aware that it’s Mother's Day – Alzheimer's has taken those memories away from her and unfortunately I won't be able to spend the day with her this year.
I will be sending her roses instead – they were her favourite flower and my father used to grow them for her.
He loved gardening and he would tend the vegetable patch while mum did the flower borders.
He created a wall for her between the vegetables and the flowers so that she could grow her climbing roses. She loved them.
Whether she'll remember dad and the roses when she sees my roses, I don't know but I like to think she'll be reminded of their time together and the lovely garden they created.
Of course, I can't help but remember dad as well and as we commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, the courage and sacrifice of all the young men like him.
Dad didn't talk a lot about his war days but in his book, Last of the Ten Fighter Boys, he talked about how terrified he was on many of his raids.
The support the RAF Benevolent Fund has been able to give my mother since her illness has been incredible. As mum's Alzheimer's got progressively worse we just didn't have the money to provide 24-hour care at home but we weren't prepared to put her into a home.
Social Services gave us three and a half hours worth of paid care – so I had a gap that we as a family needed to cover.
The situation I was faced with was to either decrease the amount of care I had for mum, find the money to pay for extra care at home or the third option was that we kept the house and found someone else to support us. Social Services advised us not to change her care as she wouldn't have liked the change.
I absolutely had no expectations that the RAF Benevolent Fund would be able to help us, after all, my father was dead; it was his family who were in need of help. When they said they could help fund some of the extra care we needed it was a godsend – we were ecstatic! It's made such a difference to mum.
By Margot Corbin