Wellingborough Veterans toughs out the hard times for daughter

Local man, Dean Knowles, knows what it is like to experience hardship and mental ill-health after leaving the Army. Fortunately, SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, was able to help.

Dean spent his full service life, 25 years, with the Royal Anglian Regiment, deploying all over the world. He did tours in the Gulf War and Iraq and trained recruits in Australia.

Dean said:

While I was in the Army everything was okay. It was a great life and I enjoyed it. But once I left I felt a bit lost. I bounced from job to job, not really settling.”

During this period, Dean’s marriage failed.

Dean said:

“My little girl, Eva, has Downs Syndrome and needs a lot of specialist care. She’s also had two major heart operations. There was no way I was going to make my ex-wife move out of our house with Eva. This saw the beginning of my kind-of homelessness. I lived in a caravan for a few years and stayed with friends. Even though I lived in a caravan, Eva still came to stay, but I felt like I was a let down. I wanted a secure home for her and for her to be able to enjoy her stay with me.

“I’ve lost a number of friends recently. Some through health issues, but others through suicide. I myself was close at one point, but it was down to my disabled little girl and the help of SSAFA that gave me that help back on my feet.”

Dean was referred to SSAFA by Combat Stress. SSAFA allocated Dean a caseworker, Gayle Bee, who guided Dean through the process of securing housing, and then helped find funding for a deposit and furniture.

Now Dean has found a job he enjoys, working on an Armed Forces Covenant scheme with Barrat Homes, and is studying for an NVQ4.  He can have Eva to visit him in his own home and life is looking better.

Dean said:

“I want other people out there to know that there is help. And if it wasn’t for people like Gayle, then I think my story would have been a very different.”

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By @Cobseo 55 years ago

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