Lanarkshire’s Andy Lockhart takes on Glasgow Kiltwalk for SSAFA

I never thought was that I would be asking for help.

In 2015, after 27 years’ service in the Royal Artillery, Larkhall resident Andy Lockhart left the regiment to spend a well-earned and peaceful retirement with his wife and childhood sweetheart, Linda.

That peaceful life lasted just a few short years.

In February 2022, Linda suffered renal failure and went into a coma. She then had a seizure and a stroke, which left her with a severe brain injury, and has led to life-changing and debilitating problems. Cognitive, behavioural, and physical disabilities followed, and Linda will remain dependent on the care of others for the rest of her life.

Andy, who was a Divisional WO1 Regimental Sergeant Major, says of that time:

It was like someone ripping my soul away. I didn’t know where to turn, who to talk to or what to do apart from put my 27 years of military service back into play and try my hardest for my wife, daughter, and son and hopefully to come out of this with some sort of meaning in life.”

Being a bloody-minded sort of man, a loving husband, and a resolute Gunner, Andy ignored advice of doctors and nurses, and made his life’s work to care for Linda’s needs in between his shifts as a mobile crane instructor.

5.30am rise and head to work – I needed to work to continue to pay the bills – then finish work at 4pm and head straight to the hospital where I would sit and work with Linda until 9pm before returning home ready to start the whole regime again the next day.”

Through his and Linda’s perseverance, she began to improve.

Through time Linda did ‘come back’ to me, but with permanent and irreversible brain damage, but we’ve not allowed this to get us down and fight it daily.”

After what Andy describes as “… 10 months of blood, sweat, and a lot of tears”, Linda came back home with full-time care during the day and Andy as her carer out of hours – all while he held down his day job.

Inevitably, this placed a financial burden on them.

He says:

We always lived within our means, never getting ourselves into an area of financial debt which we couldn’t control, but there was and is only so much I could do receiving my MOD pension and current wage, which don’t go far in this current climate that we are all suffering in some fashion within the UK.”

Andy realised he could not battle on alone and approached the Lanarkshire branch of SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity for support, and says:

I never thought that I’d be asking for help in a time of need myself, but with Linda falling ill, I swallowed my pride and asked for help from SSAFA, and I am lost for words on how to express my feelings when you responded with your help.

The help that SSAFA has given Linda and me is outstanding.”

SSAFA Lanarkshire approached and secured funding from the Royal Artillery Charitable Fund for a bespoke handrail to be fitted to the staircase in Linda and Andy’s home. A SSAFA Lanarkshire volunteer sourced a fabricator to design the rail and carry out the work.

Andy says:

SSAFA’s efforts and the contribution from the Royal Artillery Charitable Fund towards paying for a handrail is absolutely brilliant and I will be forever in your debt.”

And is repaying that debt of honour, and with interest. He completed the Glasgow Kiltwalk for SSAFA Lanarkshire last year and is taking on the 2024 Glasgow Kiltwalk Mighty Stride this Sunday (April 28), again for that branch.

Although he has already raised more than double his target of £500 for SSAFA, Andy knows that the more raised means more help available because those in the Armed Forces community – serving or retired, Regulars or Reserves, or their families – should never have to battle alone.

To support Andy as fundraises for SSAFA, visit

Kiltwalks take place in Aberdeen, Dundee, and Edinburgh. For more information on these and to sign up to support SSAFA, visit

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