RNRMC Partnership Puts Ray In Safe Hands

Beneficiary, Grants
21 January 2022

The RNRMC have worked closely with Care For Veterans for several years, most recently providing a grant of over £60,000 in 2021 to ensure the continued care of Royal Navy veterans, like Ray. 

Ray was born in Tottenham, London, in 1949. He joined the Royal Navy in 1966 when he was just 17 years old and worked on ships including HMS Ganges, HMS Eagle, HMS Excellent, HMS Ark Royal, HMS Blake, HMS Mohawk and HMS Vernon, finishing his naval career as Chief Petty Officer. The opportunity for travel attracted Ray to the Navy, “It was obviously very hard being away from the family, but I got to see the world,” Ray said. Ray enjoyed his time in the Navy immensely and his family have joked that he would “still be there now if he could!” During his time at sea Ray developed a reputation for being adventurous; a friend of Ray who served on HMS Mauritius with him described Ray as a “daredevil -the bravest man I’ve ever met in the Navy.”  

Ray was a Gunnery Instructor and Deep-Sea Diver and it was a diving accident that changed Ray’s life forever. Trapped underwater, Ray had spent six minutes with limited oxygen by the time rescuers reached him. The lack of oxygen caused a devastating brain injury and left Ray with minimal movement in his limbs. The damage has left him unable to walk and with severe speech issues. Ray arrived at Care for Veterans in 2016 and his family knew it was the perfect place for him as his daughter, Jacqueline, explains: "It is so important for Dad to live with other veterans. He loves being around people who have had similar experiences to him." 

Ray

Ray is very sociable, and his family are regular visitors. Ray’s condition means that he sometimes has episodes of neuro pain in his fingers and feet, but despite the limitations of lockdown, Ray has been able to maintain his current level of physical ability. He has been able to join in group activities, even taking part in daily wheelchair exercising sessions to music. These exercises are led by a physiotherapist and veterans form a large circle, taking it in turn to lead with their favourite move.  

“Ray is a constant inspiration,” says Andy Blyth, Head of Clinical Services at Care for Veterans.  

“He might have limited speech, but the twinkle in his eyes communicates so much. Ray’s life journey is incredibly challenging, but ‘daredevil’ Ray still has a zest for life. It’s an immense privilege to have this Navy veteran in the Care for Veterans family. As a facility, we are uniquely placed to provide a wide spectrum of nursing care and rehabilitation. Ray has complex medical needs, but like all our veterans, he has his own Personal Care Plan with agreed therapy goals. It’s all about helping Ray live the best life he can possibly live. Ray’s loving family remain deeply involved in his care and rehabilitation, but they also benefit from the help and support that’s available from our multidisciplinary therapy team.” 

Ray
Ray enjoying a Solent boat trip alongside Jennifer Chouchelamane, Care for Veterans Lead Occupational Therapist

A life in care can place a huge strain on family life, but as Ray’s daughter, Jacqueline says: “The nurses are really good, a lovely bunch. We couldn’t be without Care for Veterans. Dad’s in such safe hands here so we don’t have to worry.” 

If you would like to find out more about Care for Veterans or how to access their support, please visit their website, or call 01903 213458.