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Written by Rich Street

WO Alan WiggsAlan is an Warrant Officer (ATC) with 378 (Mannock) Sqn in Northamptonshire. On the 1st April 2016 Alan was taken to hospital in the early hours of the morning and diagnosed with a rare form of stroke. The stroke had affected Alan’s ability to swallow and after 9 days in hospital he was weak and frail and was eventually being fed by a tube directly into his stomach known as a peg feed. Alan said that his spirits were lifted when he was visited by WO(ATC) Dan Haywood (Wing Warrant, South and East Midlands Wing then) and WO(ATC) Rob Phillips. Both of them encouraged him to get better and to get back to ATC duties.

Alan was discharged after 3 weeks and the long road to recovery began. He had regular visits from the community stroke team and they worked very hard at getting him to swallow again, starting with just 3 tea spoons of liquid a day which was very hard to get used too. It took around an hour each morning to have a liquid feed, medication and water intake. Alan was continually exercising his throat, and pushing himself to get stronger and do more to try and get back to the life style he was used to.

At first Alan needed support with all of his personal care and none of it could have been done without the support, love and dedication of his girlfriend Sarah. Sarah had a full time job, their one year old daughter and a house to look after as well caring for Alan. To do this Sarah had to take unpaid time off from work and this presented some financial difficulties. WO(ATC) Dan Haywood had stayed in touch and was aware of their problems and that in particular Alan and Sarah were struggling to cover their childcare costs. Dan decided to ask WO(ATC) Simon Getley to apply for a Welfare Grant from the Air Cadet Association on their behalf.

The ACA was delighted to be able to help and awarded enough funds to cover a month of childcare costs. Alan said:

“As you can imagine we were overwhelmed by this, Firstly, for Dan and Simon for putting in the request for me and being part of my success story. Secondly for the generosity of the Air Cadet Association for being there for someone they have never met before and being able to help someone that needed financial support at a very difficult time. I can only thank them for helping with my recovery.