FORMER Grenadier Guardsman Mick Woosnam needed help when he was at his lowest ebb.
Mr Woosnam, 69, who served 17 years in the Army, including guarding Buckingham Palace and training soldiers in first aid and weapons, may have been out of uniform for more than 20 years but he knew to turn to the Royal British Legion.
Last year he was suffering severe osteoarthritis and was low on money and needed help buying furniture for a new adapted bungalow.
Three days after contacting the Legion, Mr Woosnam’s wife Ann - his partner of 26 years – died suddenly from a burst blood vessel in her brain.
“I was at a very low ebb and extremely depressed. I needed someone to talk to,” said Mr Woosnam.
The Legion stepped in to furnish his property and ensure he received food vouchers.
“I was quite confused because of the pressure of everything. I am eternally grateful to the Legion, they were absolutely marvellous.
“I’m so incredibly grateful to the Legion for helping me during this very difficult time. My wife died suddenly and I just couldn’t think rationally, but the Legion took over and looked after everything which gave me great peace of mind.
“Without their help I think I would’ve had great difficulty in getting my home sorted – the cost of moving home was more than I imagined and I couldn’t afford to buy furniture myself. I will always remember how they helped me and have offered to be a volunteer for them in the new Leeds centre, as my way of saying thank you. Hopefully I can offer help and support to others in the Armed Forces community.”
Mr Woosnam, of Pudsey, works as a volunteer at the Legion’s Pop-In Centre on Albion Street in Leeds city centre.
Debbie Harding, area manager for the Legion in Yorkshire, said: “The Royal British Legion is committed to supporting people like Mick in recognition of the commitment they have made through their service.
“As well as being the nation’s ‘custodian of remembrance’, the Legion works to ensure that today’s Forces’ families will live on with hope for a better future.
“In Mick’s case, it was clear that we could help him both financially and emotionally during a very difficult time, and it’s great to see how his life has turned around since we first became involved in supporting him.”
“The fact that he has become a volunteer in our Pop-In centre really demonstrates his gratitude towards the Legion.
“We are indebted to all our volunteers who support our work across Yorkshire so Mick’s drive to help others in recognition of the way the Legion was there for him is extremely valuable to us.”
* The Legion’s contact centre is 0808 802 8080.