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When Valerie’s husband died last Christmas, she didn’t know how she was going to pay for his funeral. With little savings between them, she reached out to us to see if we could help.

Both Valerie and her late husband Tony were former civil servants. Between them, they had worked in a range of departments over the lifespan of their varied careers. For a short time, they had even worked in the same prison together. When we asked how they met, Valerie reminisced about their blind date, which eventually led to a long and happy marriage, two daughters and five grandchildren.

Six years ago, Tony’s health took a turn for the worse. After feeling poorly and regularly fainting at work, he went to the doctors. Just a few days later he was diagnosed with liver disease.

“We just buried our heads in the sand when we heard the news. Tony carried on working for three more years and I thought he was going to get better. But he was so poorly for such a long time.”

After years of battling his illness, Tony sadly passed away around the Christmas holidays last year. Instead of having time to mourn the loss of her husband, Valerie realised that she could not afford to pay for the funeral and became overwhelmed with stress. She started to think about who to contact for help and remembered the Charity. Before retiring, she had regularly donated to the Charity after learning about the range of ways we support our lifelong community. She decided to give us a call and explain her difficult situation. After a supportive conversation with our team, we found that we were able to pay towards her husband’s funeral and relieve some of the stress for the entire family.

“I was so worried before I called the Charity. I didn’t know what I was going to do. The people I spoke to on the phone were so kind and professional about the whole thing and it was an enormous relief when they said that they could help. Thank you so much.”

When we got back in touch with Valerie a few months later, we were pleased to hear how well things were going for her. She has recently moved house to be closer to her daughters and grandchildren, who are keeping her very busy since Tony passed away. Feeling inspired by the help she received, she wants other civil servants, especially retired civil servants, to know about the support available to them.

“I come from a whole family of civil servants. The Civil Service has a very strong community and the Charity reflects that. If you need help, get in touch because that’s what they’re there for. We all look out for each other.”

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