The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association offers help to ex-services personnel and needy dependents. KATIE CAMPLING reports how it has helped two local people

KIDNEY disease and heart problems threatened to leave Lindley man Ralph Tuck housebound.

But thanks to armed forces charity SSAFA, Mr Tuck has got his independence back.

SSAFA – Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association – secured funding to buy him a £2,600 mobility scooter, which allows him to go shopping, visit his daughter along the road and join his wife Margaret for walks.

Mr Tuck, a former lecturer, qualified for help from SSAFA because his wife Margaret had been a nurse in Princess Mary’s Royal Air Force Nursing Service between 1961 and 1971.

She served in military hospitals in England, Germany and Aden in Yemen before leaving to become a civilian health visitor.

SSAFA secured money from the Officers’ Association to pay for the scooter and for alterations to steep steps at the Tuck’s front door to make them more accessible.

Mr Tuck said the help from SSAFA had changed his life.

He said: “I have used the scooter a great deal. An occupational therapist came to assess me and advise me and an engineer came to set it up. It was invaluable.

“I have had to cope with a complete reorientation of my life, so the scooter enables me to get about, otherwise I would be housebound. It’s come at exactly the right time.”

Mr Tuck has been on dialysis three times a week at Leeds since November, which has left him with poor mobility and unable to drive.

He approached SSAFA after spotting contact details alongside an advert for mobility scooters in a magazine.

Mrs Tuck said getting help had been easy.

She said: “All it took was one phone call and a visit and the ball started rolling.”

SSAFA has case workers who liaise with forces charities to secure money for ex-personnel and their dependents.

They can offer assistance with a range of problems, from financial issues to care needs.

To qualify for help, you simply need to have done a day’s paid service in the armed forces – or be the dependent of someone who has.

Mike Dowling, of SSAFA, said: “This case is a prime example of someone benefiting as a dependent, because their spouse served in the forces. It is not a one-off either. We may be able to help people again if their needs change in future.”

Mr Tuck said he would urge people in need to contact SSAFA to see if they are eligible for help.

“I would recommend anyone getting in touch if they need help.”

For details of the SSAFA’s support, ring SSAFA on 01484 425472.