Yes, there is real hardship in England, and I don't only mean the people whose homes and lives have been devastated by the floods, though many of them are still suffering and will be feeling the pinch financially for years ahead. My help will go to people in two categories - either the old, or ex-service personnel who are injured, unemployed or homeless.
They are not the only ones in need, but they are the people whose contribution to their country has been most shockingly disregarded and unrewarded. It is shameful that people who worked and paid National Insurance for forty years or more now get a tiny pension they cannot live on, or are told they must wait several more years to claim anything. And that people who have undergone tough training and taken appalling risks to serve in Tony Blair's two long pointless wars, come back shell-shocked, sometimes maimed for life, to find that they are unable to get either a job or a home. They serve in the front line, risking their lives and then they are cynically chucked out three days before becoming eligible for a full pension.
There are elderly people who have to go on working despite suffering from failing eyesight, failing hearing, severe arthritis, rheumatism and other diseases - even cancer - but can't claim a pension, or can't live on the one they are begrudging given. We have some of the lowest pensions in Europe and unless there is some major upheaval in the politics and government of this country, I foresee that all state pensions will be stopped altogether.
So Age Concern will get a big chunk of my "Christian Aid" and the rest will go to The Soldiers' Charity. It will help people like this, who are paying an appalling price for Tony Blair's mistakes.
People like Andy Reid
In 2009, whilst on patrol with 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment in Afghanistan, Andy stood on a pressure plate IED. As a result of the explosion, he lost his right leg below the knee, left leg above the knee, and right arm.
After being flown back to the UK, Andy astounded people with his recovery by only spending only 2 weeks in hospital. However before he could go home there was an urgent need for it to be made wheelchair accessible. The Soldiers' Charity made an immediate grant to pay for a wheelchair ramp, alterations to the front entrance and a bed downstairs.
Since then our charity’s relationship with Andy has continued to develop; Andy has become a passionate ambassador for the Charity, helping us to raise much needed funds and awareness. He’s done two tandem skydives, taken part in the St Helen’s 10K Run, abseiled down the Big One in Blackpool and held his own Big Curry in his home town of St Helen's. Andy has now been medically discharged from the Army and in late 2012 became a father to little William.
Andy says ‘After my discharge I chose to become even more involved with The Soldiers’ Charity because they support the full spectrum of the Army family. I have met amazing and inspirational people who test their physical and mental limit to raise much needed funds for others. I keep pushing myself forward to show other guys injured in service what can be done, that it’s not the end of the world and you can carry on as normal a life as possible’.