Support for our veterans

Independent funeral directors and Golden Charter have been working to raise money for The Royal British Legion and Poppyscotland throughout the year. This is one example of how Poppyscotland’s work supports the armed forces community.

Christopher Fisher was in the Royal Navy from 1970 to 1977. As a leading seaman radar he toured the Far East and West Indies and was involved in typhoon rescue work in the Taiwan straits.

He then spent five years in the Merchant Navy as an able seaman and ended his career in the MoD Police, where he served from 1982 to 1990 before being medically retired.

Having grown up on a council estate in Clydebank, the natural route for employment was the shipyard, but Christopher wanted to see the world and joined the Navy aged 16.

He said: “I enjoyed the travel and the comradeship. You would be on a ship for two years at a time so you got close to the people you served with.”

Christopher, who has three children and five grandchildren, developed health problems when in the MoD police. He started to have migraines and was referred to a consultant neurologist. The experts could not diagnose his condition, but recognised he had a progressive and degenerative disability, in which his body has been trying to form a foetal position.

Over the years, Christopher’s condition has worsened. He only has the use of his left hand and his hips and knees have fused. He has a specially designed and adapted wheelchair, but he was bed-bound for 12 years.

During this time, to keep his mind active, he completed an Open University honours degree in law and is currently undertaking a criminology and psychology honours degree course.

Poppyscotland supported Christopher by funding a replacement van, which enables him to get out of his house. Christopher and his wife Julie had a 20-year-old van which had served them well over the years, but they received the bad news from a local mechanic that it would fail its MOT.

Christopher had received support from Poppyscotland in the past in the form of a hoist and adaptations to his bath to further improve his mobility, so got in touch again, and, within six weeks, he had his new vehicle.

The van is five years old with low mileage and a lift at the back, which means Christopher can access it in his wheelchair.

He said: “I have much more freedom and independence now. I feel I am more integrated in society and can meet more people. The van is an extension to my legs.”

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