Nearly eighty members and guests came to our first club night of 2013 for a presentation on the work of BLESMA by Malcolm & Ruth’s son Phillip and a
Philip ‘Bob’ Monkhouse from Norfolk and his friend Andy Mudd BEM from Yorkshire came to tell us about the impact BLESMA is having on the lives of our severely injured service personnel.
BLESMA was formed in Scotland in the 1920’s to bring together groups that were helping injured armed forces personnel from the first world war. There are obviously no survivors from that time. The second world war once again created many debilitating injuries for our service personnel and some of these and their surviving dependants are still benefitting from BLESMA support. This brings us forward to more recent conflicts that continue to kill and maim.
Andy Mudd was severely injured by an IRA bomb exploding under his car at Colchester in 1986. He lost both legs and part of his right hand. Phillip Monkhouse was injured as a result of a Road Traffic Accident whilst on duty in Bosnia. He lost the lower part of his right leg.
What an inspiration these two guys were. They have just got on with their lives with time spent both in the Army and in ‘civvies’.
The wonders of modern surgery at the QueenElizabethHospital in Birmingham followed by convalescence and rehabilitation at Headley Court allied to modern prosthetics gives amazing opportunities for people with these problems. This is just the start.
They explained some of the worries and problems suffered by amputees. Young men and women coming back to the UK with horrific injuries are counselled, with guidance starting almost from day one. BLESMA gives them opportunities to expand their lives and experiences and to conquer challenges they would never have thought possible. Opportunities such as rock climbing, skiing, sailing and competing in all manner of sports helps them to continue a meaningful life and gives them the confidence to take on new challenges.
BLESMA’s in depth support for their clients include a dedicated residential hotel at Lytham St. Anne’s. A part of Andy’s long term plan to retire with like minded people.
To maintain all these facilities along with a team of welfare and support staff costs well in excess of £2 million pounds per annum.
A collection on the evening raised a staggering £2540 for BLESMA funds. Our thanks must go to the generosity of all who contributed and to Phillip and Andy for coming to see us.