A volunteer at SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity is asking people to help a 100-year-old veteran, former Second World War...
Will you send a card to Stan?
A volunteer at SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity is asking people to help a 100-year-old veteran, former Second World War Gunner Stan Vickers, celebrate Christmas this year by sending him cards and well wishes …
Christmas, like all major festivals, is a time for family, and after the last 20-odd months of lockdowns and restrictions on seeing loved ones, it is perhaps more important this year than most. However, not everyone has close family: husbands and wives die, children and grandchildren move away, couples separate, and some people are left alone. Stan Vickers, late of the Royal Artillery, is a case in point.
Stan, who celebrated his 100th birthday on 19 November, lost his wife Marjorie a few years go and subsequently moved into The Laurels care home in Norton, Doncaster. Of course, no matter how much the staff there make him feel comfortable and care for him, it is not where he lived his life with Marjorie and made so many memories.
One of those wishing Army veteran Stan well is Gary Cox, divisional secretary at SSAFA Doncaster and Thorne, South Yorkshire. SSAFA has been providing practical, emotional and financial support to our Forces and their families for more than 136 years, and not just during times of conflict – and Gary wants you to please help Stan.
Says Gary: ‘Stan is fascinating to talk with, and although he has many stories about how he survived the Second World War and his daring exploits as part of the Royal Artillery, including a battle with Rommel’s forces, it is apparent that he is all alone, with no surviving family. This, and the loss of his wife, tugs at his heart. It tugged at mine, too.’
Claire Simpson, activities co-ordinator at The Laurels, continues: ‘One of our weekly groups is “Reminiscence”, which is not only for our residents to chat about the past, but also to support one another to combat loneliness. This is one of the groups Stan enjoys most; he has always got a story to tell. Music is also a big part of our activity programme here, and singing songs and also triggering memories leads to great chats – and Stan can definitely talk for England!’
Gary concludes: ’The Armed Forces community is often called a “family”, which is why I’m calling on this family and the many, many civilians who support our veterans and serving personnel, to send Stan a festive card and let him know that he’s not forgotten this Christmas.’
A hip flask, engraved with the regimental crest of the Royal Artillery, given to Stan on his 100th birthday by SSAFA Doncaster and Thorne
If you can, please send a Christmas card to:
The Laurels Nursing Care Home
SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity has been providing lifelong support to our Forces and their families since 1885. In 2020, our teams of volunteers and employees helped more than 79,000 people in need, from Second World War veterans to young men and women who have served in more recent conflicts, and their families. SSAFA understands that behind every uniform is a person. And we are here for that person – any time they need us, in any way they need us, for as long as they need us.
Main image: Stan with Gary Cox, divisional secretary at SSAFA Doncaster and Thorne, South Yorkshire, and, on the right, Stan toasts his special card from HM The Queen
All images courtesy of The Laurels Residential Home
After 38 years’ service, WO1 Eric Bristow, 57, is leaving the Forces this December to work as a gas engineer, having...
RFEA – The Forces Employment Charity is teaming up with representatives from the Fire Service to offer free careers...
Case Studies See all
Ex-Army Officer details plans for character building at independent college
A former Sub Unit Commander, Joint Operational Support Staff Officer, Senior Logistics Operational Officer and Officer Commanding Soldier Development has been appointed head of outdoor education at...Read more »
Marine Engineer Steven Pearson
Chief Petty Officer
with Marine Engineer Steven PearsonRead more »