Gone but not forgotten

The Royal Observer Corps may have been disbanded and many of the former members live happily with their memories. Today a few of those who served their country have found that despite their best plans, times are hard in the current economic climate.

For those, there is the safety net of the Benevolent Fund to fall back on. The Fund continues to serve those, who once served. If only they knew how to make contact…

A typical case was that of David and Helen, an Antrim couple in their late seventies.

David worked for the same small garage as a mechanic for the last twenty years before his retirement.

His wife Helen had worked as a school cook and they were enjoying a modest but reasonably comfortable retirement. However, things started to become a little difficult five years ago with the onset of Helen’s rheumatoid arthritis, which reduced her mobility. Living in a bungalow was an asset but its exposed position on the coast meant that maintenance was important and it was something that was now too difficult for David, and with limited savings, repairs had now become too expensive for them. The window and door frames were rotten and badly in need of attention and last winter the cold and damp had started to have an adverse effect on Helen’s health.

David had served on his local Royal Observer Corps post and still was in contact with Barry, one of the former post members. Barry had told him that even though the Corps had been stood down back in the nineties, the ROC Benevolent Fund was still going – his grandson had found out about it on the internet, doing a school history project on his grandparents!

Barry found the details and David contacted the Fund explaining their dilemma. It was only four days later that a very helpful lady from SSAFA Forces Help arranged to visit them, and she couldn’t have been more reassuring and helpful with an application to the Fund. She certainly knew what she was about and David and Helen didn’t feel embarrassed to explain their difficulty to her – which they had both had some reservations about.

The outcome of all this was the caseworker helping to get some quotes for work on the bungalow. The job was completed earlier this year, helping to make a much more comfortable environment for Helen, with the added bonus of lower heating bills. The Benevolent Fund arranged to pay the window firm directly. David commented that the friendly helpfulness was something that he remembered from his service in the Corps and it was good to know that there was still some of that spirit left.

Are you a former member of the ROC, a dependant, or do you know someone who is. Contact can be made with the ROC Benevolent Fund by going to www.rocbf.org.uk or by writing to The Secretary, 120 Perry Hall Road, Orpington, Kent, BR6 0EF

‘Serving those who once served’