A 90-year-old war veteran has returned to a newly cleaned and decorated home this Christmas, with the help of one of Humberside Police’s neighbourhood team PCSOs.
PCSO Shaun Lee became aware of Leonard, who served in the Royal Artillery for almost 30-years, back in November after visiting him at home in his flat, and was immediately concerned about the conditions he was living in.
PCSO Lee said: “After I visited him at home I knew something had to be done for his safety and welfare, as the flat was in an extreme state of disrepair with every room completely cluttered and filled with rubbish.
“I made contact with numerous people from different organisations and companies to try and put arrangements in place so that Leonard could have a clean and safe place to live.
“During this time, I went back to see Leonard and sadly found him a little unwell in bed. A paramedic quickly attended and together we managed to get Leonard into an assisted living facility while he recovered, and she also arranged for his pet cockatiel Baby to be temporally rehomed, which gave us the opportunity to sort his house out for him.”
PCSO Lee then continued making enquiries to try and sort Leonard’s home, and found the Veterans Still Serving (VSS) organisation were more than happy to be involved and provided fantastic help, as PCSO Lee explains: “Within a few days, VSS had spread the word about Leonard and managed to do all sorts to help him, from organising new furniture to making sure he had opportunities to socialise.
“A local cleaning firm cleaned the flat top to bottom and a carpet supplier fitted new carpets. Once the flat was clean, a couple of my colleagues and I teamed up with a number of volunteers from VSS and dedicated a day of our own time to decorating it.
“Throughout all this time I kept in contact with Leonard, visiting him with my colleague Caroline and keeping him up-to-date with the progress on his home while he got better.
“The flat is now completed and I am pleased to share that Leonard was able to move back in, just in time for Christmas.
“There are too many people to thank all individually, but to everyone who was involved, a giant, massive thank you as it really was a huge team effort and it shows just how strong a community can be when we all rally together.
“In his time of need, people were there to help and Leonard is a completely different person now to the one I met in November, of which I am forever grateful, as I’m sure Leonard is also.”
Vice-Chairman of VSS Colin Maclachlan said: “Veterans Still Serving are a peer to peer support group for Ex-Forces personnel, and while our primary aim is to support those suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Alcohol and Substance misuse, our group is open to all veterans, especially those living alone and who have become detached from society.
“We were able to supply all materials needed and much more for Leonard within 48-hours. It has been a great privilege for all involved and we were really pleased we could assist in making this a Christmas to remember for him.”
For further information on VSS please visit www.veteransstillserving.com or search on Facebook for @VeteransStillServing