A normal family getting on with life !
We always focussed on our children, we looked forward to our holidays.
Martin painted the house, mowed the lawn, managed the kids footy, was on the
PTA. We were just getting on with life.
Martin took out PMAS, paid into the Benevolent Fund and all the
orphan funds, stray dog funds etc. that you all sign up to when you join the
Police. We were always a little broke, even thought about coming out of the
Benevolent Fund as we would never need it as it was an extra expense. We had a
regular income to always rely on. I worked in a well-paid job in advertising
sales but we always spent more. We never worried too much about money or where
the next pay cheque would come from as over time, it would even things
Martin would ride his bike to his dream job. He worked with the police
helicopter, he'd previously worked in firearms. He couldn't fasten the
epaulette on his shoulder, kept dropping things. He started to struggle with
everyday tasks and got tired easily. Over the next 6 months we had every test
to disprove what we didn't want to hear. We couldn't say anything to anyone as
we didn't know what it was.
Martin had a really rare illness that other people get, not our
normal family. Martin was told he had Motor Neurone Disease. Now you may have
heard of it because of the Ice Bucket Challenge or even Steven Hawkins or the
odd footballer who had it but we hadn't heard of it and very few people
had. You lose muscle and every part of you shuts downs, you're still in
there but you're body stops working, literally. It’s the disease that any
Doctor would say they don't see maybe one in their careers and it’s the one
illness they wouldn't want.
Martin died in October 2010. Just over a year after being told his
prognosis. He was 50. He had originally worked in Hampshire Police then
finished his career in Merseyside.
Freddie was 13, Libby was 11 and Louis was 9. We were devastated. Our children
had lost their Dad and I'd lost my husband. Life continued but after a number
of years I decided to leave my job as it had involved long hours and time away
The St Georges Trust stepped in for extra financial support as my income had
reduced. What hadn't reduced were the demands of family life. Just because my
children didn't have their Dad or I my husband, I didn't want my children
penalised because of my low income.
We have accessed the SGPCT Fund over the years. Two of my children have used
the driving lessons support. The last one to pass is applying for help. My
youngest son took 5 attempts to pass his test whilst my daughter took an
intensive course and passed in a week.
Libby started university and didn't have a laptop, the SGPCT Fund paid for
this. Since starting University, it has been noted that she is dyslexic. Having
this laptop has given her full access to the entire support network needed.
Freddie the eldest had always wanted to be a dentist. This year, only with the
help of the SGPCT Fund, he travelled to the Philippines working with locals and
helping with dental care.
My youngest son Louis is off to University this year to do an entrepreneur
course and a laptop is essential to aid his studies.
We have used the holiday home in Harrogate on a few occasions too.
The children are now 22, 20 and 18. Yes time flies but their needs
are ever increasing.
There will be three Russell children at University this year:
Freddie at University of Sheffield will qualify as a Dentist in
Libby will start her final year at University of Leeds studying Digital Media.
Louis will start his first year at Falmouth University studying
Business and Entrepreneurship.
I may be a lone parent but I know with the support of the St
Georges Trust I am not alone.