Micky Flude

“SSAFA I am forever grateful to you. You listened to me and got me the help I needed. It does make a big difference. It is a big deal to me.”

Micky Flude

“SSAFA I am forever grateful to you. You listened to me and got me the help I needed. It does make a big difference. It is a big deal to me.”

When Micky Flude (70), a former Corporal in the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment, was struggling to live independently at home due to severe Rheumatoid Arthritis, he turned to SSAFA for help. A year on, the charity secured £5,000 funding to get him a much needed stairlift, so he can carry on with daily life.

“I first noticed that I had a problem when I was in the Army” Micky said.

“I was on an NCO Cadre course, marching down a riverbed for miles, with my equipment in a canoe. That is when I first started feeling unwell, with inflamed knees and joints.

“It wasn’t until after I left the military for civvy street in 1983, after 14 years’ service, that I got a proper diagnosis at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridgeshire and was told I had severe Rheumatoid Arthritis and also Sjögren's Syndrome, a condition that affects parts of the body that produce fluids, like tears.

“The condition misses a generation in the family and I just remember my mother telling me that my Granny, who I never knew, would be curled up in a ball on the kitchen floor in agony.

“I have a lot of problems moving around the house. Over the years my condition has worsened, and my ankles are now quite deformed, which severely impairs my mobility. I can walk around the house but I have chairs everywhere so I can regularly sit down. I struggle just standing in front of the mirror in the bathroom to shave.

“I live alone and because of the condition, I don’t get out much – I have a network of friends who act as carers, but I struggle, and it is debilitating.”

A friend of Micky told him about SSAFA and told him to give them a call. That is when he was introduced to Ken, who helped him raise funds for the stairlift.

“I didn’t have a lot of money myself, and that is why I needed help from SSAFA.

“I explained that I had trouble getting up and down the stairs and sometimes when the pain was really bad, I would fall.

“Ken was very attentive and helpful, we’d speak on the phone and he would update me to let me know how it was going, it is all down to SSAFA and Ken that I am where I am today.

 “It did take a long time to gather funds, as the stairlift was very expensive. It took about just over a year. But without SSAFA I wouldn’t have got one.”

Now Micky can live at home with increased mobility and is grateful the stairlift means he can enjoy a long-term future in his home.

“I know my condition isn’t going to go away – they say it will get worse. There is nothing that will cure me, so the help I have had from SSAFA means a lot to me.

“It may not be a big deal for others, but it really does help me. It lets me get up and down. I have one toilet upstairs so I need to be able to get around. The stairlift gives me safety and independence.

“SSAFA I am forever grateful to you. You listened to me and got me the help I needed. It does make a big difference. It is a big deal to me”

 

Micky joined the Parachute Regiment in 1969, but a bad ankle break led him to transfer to the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment. He served for 14 years and says his time in the Army was the best time of his life. Micky says he had an amazing career: “I did so much- I would never have done it anywhere else.”

In his 10 years in the Royal Tank Regiment, Micky took part in all sorts of military regimental life, squadron runs, freefall sport, escape and evasion exercises and active service tours in Northern Ireland. He also took part in the Farnborough Air Show and was involved in covert operations in Kirkcudbright.

Micky said “One of the things I’ll always remember is an exercise with chieftain tanks, to experience a tactical night time replenishment in the middle of a German Forest, using stalwarts to get fuel, food, water, ammunition, mail and the tuck shop.”

He also recalls being the only person on skiing exercise ‘Snow Queen’ who hadn’t skied before, and without any instructors he got stuck in at the deep end, trying his best as he flew down mountains: “The only way I knew how to stop was by falling over. Every day I was black and blue. I was the only one who didn’t know how to do it, and it was a few days before anyone taught me how to snow plough! When you are in the military you just get on and do it!”

Micky joined civvy street in 1983 and moved back near his parents who ran a B&B in Cambridge. He then worked as a security guard for Sainsbury’s, a porter at Addenbrooke’s Hospital and then a lab assistant until he retired.