You have to be resilient to up sticks and move to Spain when you are 80 - and that is exactly what Charles, originally from Hull, East Yorkshire, did. Little would he have envisaged when he started his service with the RAF, that he would come to be supported by the RAF family in his later years in Spain.
As a young man, Charles served in the RAF first in the UK, then Germany until his discharge in 1955. He completed his basic training in West Kirby and a short tour at no 207 Advanced Flying School (AFS) RAF Full Sutton, East Yorkshire (then the East Riding).
Charles (third from left, black shirt) with the RAF Germany cycling team
He was posted to Germany where he served at RAF Sundern for the Signals Unit where he was also an active member of the RAF Germany cycling team competing in interservice competitions, then RAF Wildenrath with responsibility for local German labour force and the Second Allied Tactical Air Force (2ATAF), which looked after medical centres, facilities and hospitals.
In November 1955, when demobbed, he returned to his hometown of Hull and his former
occupation in retail furniture sales, He went on to run his own business as a house furnisher and then worked for British Gas. He stayed in Yorkshire and when living in Wakefield he became a Welfare Officer for the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA Forces Help) helping ex military veterans in the UK for ten years.
At 80, long after formal retirement, Charles moved to the Costa Blanca, Spain. He continued to help his local community there through charitable work - first with Age Concern, then as the Welfare Officer with the Royal Air Force Association (RAFA) locally. He was recognised as a Lifetime Vice President of the Association.
At 87, Charles himself needed some support. He was struggling to manage at home.
Charles (left) with colleagues
Thanks to Age in Spain’s Veterans support caseworker Bill Roberts and manager Kayte Locke, Charles was helped to secure financial support from RAFA, to modernise his bathroom so that he could maintain his physical independence and his pride. He personally thanked the CEO at HQ Housing RAFA.
Charles and his wife Galina are very appreciative and grateful for the support they have received and he is delighted to share his story in order to encourage other veterans who need support to get in touch with Age in Spain.
Charles said "The help and support we have had through our interaction with Age in Spain and the RAFA - a charity I am very familiar with - has allowed me to retain more of my independence and pride. Between that and my wife's excellent cooking, life is good."
Before you go!
Help us to help more veterans in Spain. Too often, people reach out to us when things have reached a crisis point. No-one likes to feel vulnerable or dependent, but asking for help the moment you need it, just like Charles did, can transform your life and help you keep your dignity and independence. If you know an ex service veteran or military family living in Spain that is struggling, don't wait - contact us.
Our specialist support service to help UK veterans and families in Spain (whatever your age) is only made possible by operational grants from The Soldiers Charity, The Royal Navy Royal Marines Charity and the RAF Benevolent Fund. Our volunteers give one to one help with information, support with managing difficult life changes, help to access social care and health services and when needed, direct financial support from UK military charities to help maintain independence in later life.
Can you help us? To help everyone plan their life to the fullest in Spain, we need your support. We are completely dependent on donations from people like you for our services. We receive no government funding and every year we struggle to keep going.
A regular donation of just €15 per month will enable us to provide a weekly friendship call to an isolated older person, every week of the year.
A one off donation of €50 will enable us to make a home visit to a vulnerable person who is struggling to access vital services.
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