Poppy appeal’s vital help

Malcolm and Mary Brocklehurst.'Mr Brocklehurst has received respite support from the Royal British Legion

Malcolm and Mary Brocklehurst.'Mr Brocklehurst has received respite support from the Royal British Legion

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A pensioner who cares for his dementia-suffering wife says he would have endured “a lot of hardship” without the help and support of the Royal British Legion.

Malcolm Brocklehurst, 75, has been the sole carer of his blind wife Mary, 84, who also suffers from dementia, since 1970.

The strain of supporting a loved one with a degenerative condition recently took its toll on Mr Brocklehurst, an ex-soldier in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME), and he was diagnosed with depression.

The pensioner’s plight was spotted by his wife’s nurse who referred him to the Legion’s Admiral Nurse Service.

Through funding from the Poppy Appeal, the service paid for him to have more time to himself and brought in more help for his wife.

He said: “I was very low two months ago and everything was becoming too much until the nurse came in and got me more help.

“I was getting a package for looking after my wife but she informed social services and the next day a bigger package was in place to give me more help so I can have more quality time to myself.

“When you are sat in the house 24/7 it becomes a strain but now I can go to the theatre or my poetry group.”

Mr Brocklehurst, of North Drive, Cleveleys, qualifies for the support because of his two year’s National Service in the REME from 1955 to 1957.

In 2012, the appeal raised £37m to help the likes of the Brocklehursts.

Mr Brocklehurst added: “Without my friends, neighbours and the Royal British Legion it would be hard.

“They’ve been absolutely fantastic and it has given me an extra lift.

“It’s wonderful for ex-servicemen and it doesn’t matter what you were in the services or what sacrifices you made, everyone is supported.

“There would’ve been a lot of hardship without this.”

Mrs Brocklehurst lost her vision in 1970 during an industrial accident involving chemicals she was working with.

A spokeswoman for the Royal British Legion, said: “Since it launched in June 2012, the Admiral Nurse Service has helped more than 300 families in the North West by assessing their needs and providing them with specialist information so they are fully equipped to care for loved ones with dementia.”

Anyone who would like to support the Poppy Appeal, can visit www.britishlegion.org.uk