I chose Bart’s as my training school in 1985 not only for the great reputation of the training but because of the history and affection with which the alumni were regarded and a sense of ‘our trained family’. Never in my wildest dreams did I envisage just how much those latter sentiments would mean, and the comfort they would bring, in one of the most challenging years of my life so far. This year started with more uncertainty with a continued debilitating depression, which impacted my self-employed therapy and teaching practice. I was also supporting my partner with his own severe issues of complex PTSD and injuries sustained from urban search and rescue work in the Christchurch earthquakes in New Zealand in 2011.
2 years ago, I sold my home to end a nightmare of spiralling, outrageous debt related to what turned out to be an awful financial agreement he had taken out to start a business helping others, and that I had guaranteed. The emotional toll was catastrophic. We found solace in a rental in the countryside amid the natural surroundings of North Norfolk while we recovered. We knew we would have to move on at some point as the estate landowners were planning renovations. We just thought we would have recovered sufficiently by then to hold our own. This year we started with the uncertainty of a future and desperate for funds to maintain our stay here. The pandemic was taking hold and restrictions were in place and although we felt relieved that we could not be evicted, it was a huge blow to one’s pride and self-worth. I had explored all options and we were ineligible for most support due to my small NHS Pension and his small military pension. Then I found the League Benevolent Fund.
Hilary and Jill have been the most welcoming lights at the end of a very dark tunnel. Their kindness, concern and friendliness, as well as the instant provision of funds to meet our rent arrears to secure our accommodation, was incredibly moving. I felt loved and appreciated by my Barts family. I never thought I would be in such dire circumstances with the threat of homelessness and realise this can happen to anyone at any time, regardless. Now it is time to move on due to those renovation plans and reluctantly, though necessity dictated, I contacted Hilary to see if they could help us again with the fees. We are now set to move next week into another small property in nature and are looking forward again. The funding restored our spirits and self-worth and we are now working on building our future. I am even more enamoured with my Barts roots if that’s at all possible!