Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Man with the Melted Face

In the spring of 2008, I met a man with a melted face.

You probably think I am speaking metaphorically, but this is only partly true. To get an idea of what his face looked like, imagine it a copy of the original was made by Madame Tussauds waxworks and heat was applied. That's how his face looked except what had happened had affected a real face not a wax one. I think it's probably impossible to imagine the agony he must have endured to real his skin and flesh and blood.

He was a British soldier and he and I and another 40 people were guests at the launch of a fund-raising programme, Music on Fire. One of the stars of the show, Hayley Westonra, was at the launch and met and spoke to the soldier, as well as others who had been wounded in the course of duty. To her immense credit, she smiled and did not flinch when introduced and seeing his horrific injuries for the first time.

We can't do much for those soldiers who have lost their lives, other than to remember them with respect and support their families. For those who return grievously wounded, we ought to do our utmost to care for them. I remain incensed at how little the Government does and I hope the next Government will fix this.

In the mean time, we can do more ourselves. The leading charities are, of course, quite happy to accept cash donations but in addition they also organise events at which you can have fun while raising funds.

Help for Heroes helps the servicemen and women wounded in Britain's current conflicts.

The Army Benevolent Fund regularly holds fundraising events, as do the RAF Benevolent Fund and the Royal Navy Benevolent Fund Trust.

Don't wait for the government and bureaucracy to act - do something yourself now and let the man with the melted face know he and others like him won't be forgotten.

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