A disabled Royal Air Force veteran says his life has been changed by a £34,000 charity grant to adapt his home to his needs.
Retired RAF telecoms operator Ian Park, 53, who lives in Sudbury with his wife and son, received a helping hand from the RAF Benevolent Fund, which met the shortfall in local authority funding needed to modify his house, so he can live on one floor.
Ian suffers from diabetic neuropathy of the feet and ankles, which causes him constant pain, and he cannot feel any sensation from the middle of his thigh to his feet, which has resulted in numerous falls because of a lack of depth perception.
Following a minor heart attack, he has also developed unstable angina and chronic heart disease, and he struggles with persistent back pain due to two discs pressing on to his spinal cord.
Last month, he was also diagnosed with an enlarged spleen and liver disease.
After a visit by a Babergh District Council occupational therapist, he was given a Disabled Facilities Grant of £30,000 – but this covered less than half of the £64,000 cost, prompting the RAF charity to step in.
Ian, who now volunteers four days a week at Citizens Advice, said: “The change is immense. I do not have to struggle up and down the stairs. I do not have to exert myself, and I do not have to worry.
“I did not expect anything. At the end of the day, the fund did what all of its information says it would do and that is care and help.
“It was such a pleasure to know somebody was there to do their best for you, just because you are part of the family, the RAF family.”
Al Bennett, head of individual grants at the RAF Benevolent Fund, added: “Helping veterans like Ian Park is exactly what the fund is here to do. We have been able to assist Ian to live more independently at home, at a time when he needed it most.
“His RAF service means the RAF Benevolent Fund will always be by his side, in times of need.”