Anita and Becky's story takes courage to tell
Column by Coun Kelham Cooke, leader of South Kesteven District Council
In 10 days’ time, at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month, we will be marking the official end of the First World War and remembering and honouring all the men and women of South Kesteven who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty.
For some, the sacrifice was made during one of the two world wars, for others, the sacrifice is more recent. But regardless of the date, or the conflict, Armistice is an official reminder of just how much we owe our armed forces personnel.
Armistice Day makes us pause, and think, just for a moment. We buy poppies and we attend church services, we march, and we lay wreaths.
But for those who have experience of our armed services, whether through serving themselves, or supporting those who serve, the understanding and recognition goes far beyond this one commemorative day and impacts on daily life.
This was brought home to me recently by a member of the council’s staff, Anita, a hard-working single mum whose daughter Becky served 20 years in the Royal British Army, including time in Iraq as an ambulance driver.
Despite the support of a loving family, Becky’s mental health suffered as a result of some of the things she had to see and do during her army career. This resulted in a mental breakdown in 2017. Thankfully Becky is now back to full health.
Anita has agreed to tell Becky’s story, and to share her own experience as the mother of a daughter on the frontline, to help raise funds for the Royal British Legion.
Talking about mental health is, thankfully, becoming easier. But I know that for Anita and Becky to go public with their story has taken a great deal of courage and is influenced purely by the desire to help others. You can read more about the campaign and Anita’s story on the Royal British Legion’s website; it’s a campaign I am wholeheartedly supporting. But I am also keen do more, where we can, to help our armed forces personnel. That’s why we are launching the South Kesteven District Council Armed Forces Discount Card.
The card is available to eligible serving and retired service personnel who live in South Kesteven. The council is providing the administration side of things, working with our local military bases.
Businesses and shops are being urged to sign up to the scheme and to think what they may be able to offer in terms of discounts or special offers, however big or small.
If our scheme is successful, not only will it help us to support those who serve, but it will also support the district’s economy by encouraging people to shop local. That way, we can support individuals, families and communities.
For more information on the scheme, visit www.southkesteven.gov.uk/forcesdiscountcard