GULF War veteran Colin Butler from Leeds is one of thousands of ex-servicemen and women whose lives have been transformed thanks to the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal.
The legion is again urging the public to support this year’s appeal, which will mark the anniversary of the First World War.
The appeal will be launched nationally tomorrow with the message: ‘Live on - to the memory of the fallen, and the future of the living.’
On the even of the launch, former RAF serviceman Mr Butler’s wife Angela has told how the legion’s financial help has given their family fresh hope after her husband, who was diagnosed with from bipolar disorder last January, lost his job as a chef.
Mr Butler, 43, joined the RAF aged 16 and served in II Parachute Squadron in the first Gulf War in 1990/91 during nine-years in the forces.
Mrs Butler, 39, said her husband struggled to cope with civilian life and left his chef’s job due to his bipolar disorder early last year. That happened at around the same time as she found herself out of work and soon after she gave birth to their daughter Isabeau, now aged 21 months.
The couple lost their home just 10 weeks before Isabeau was born and had to live in a one-bedroom flat in Middleton for just over a year.
Soon after they applied for help, the Legion paid for rent and a bond on a two-bed semi-detached house with a garden in Pudsey. And the Legion also paid for the family to have their first week’s holiday in seven years this August at the charity’s hotel in Bridlington.
Mrs Butler said: “My husband has been unable to work for the last couple of years, his mental health has deteriorated and he needed a lot of help and support. He has also been assessed for post-traumatic stress disorder. The Legion are wonderful. The help we have had has been life-changing for us because we were in such a difficult situation and it was exacerbating my husband’s condition.”