Sharon served her country and always cared for people. When she died, her husband was left to raise their young son. This is his story.
Wayne met Sharon in 1998 at the hospital where they both worked and they were engaged within three months. Wayne, aged 49 and living in Aldershot, Hampshire, described Sharon as an “Extremely enthusiastic and happy sort of person – it was full on or nothing – and very smart.”
Sharon was already a qualified NHS nurse when she decided to join QARANC (Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps) in 1999 as a commissioned officer.
She was an intensive care unit and theatre nurse, rising to the rank of Captain. Her military career included several tours of Kosovo and going to Africa as part of an ongoing medical aid team to tackle Malaria. After serving for nine years Sharon left the Army and went on to work in a GP practice.
He added: “We were two people that loved one another and got on with one another. It was just a joy to get up in the morning, and a joy to go to sleep at night.”
In 2011 Sharon unexpectedly died, after having a seizure, which caused her to fall from a fence at home onto a concrete patio, where she suffered a fatal head injury.
Wayne and their seven year-old son found Sharon and, despite her being rushed to hospital, she never regained consciousness and died. Wayne said it “was the worst day of my life.”
“This isn’t fair at all – a caring person who served her country and looks after people, why’s this happened? How are we going to cope?”
Wayne was immediately faced with some major challenges. In addition to the grief, Wayne faced the stresses of suddenly being left as a lone parent and having a reduced household income. He was put in touch with the OA and felt from the start of his phone call to them that the charity wanted to assist him.
The OA initially helped Wayne with a contribution towards the funeral costs, and has subsequently provided additional grants to help him and his son with living expenses when needed. Wayne also knows that he can always contact the OA for advice and guidance.
The OA has for almost hundred years supported former officers, their families and dependants when faced with challenging times. Grants are awarded to beneficiaries needing financial support, which can be a one-off grant or a regular payment, depending on their needs. Regular grants can go towards the general cost of living, as well as care support. Our one-off payments can cover many costs, including car repairs, funeral costs, and replacing white goods.
The OA’s impact on Wayne’s life has been significant, with the financial assistance provided giving him the space to adapt to his own situation.
Wayne said: “Life is much better through the help and support of the OA. Out of everything that they’ve done, the support that I’ve received has probably given me more confidence in myself and life in general, and the future. I think that shines through and I think my son has picked up on that, so we’ve grown closer.”