'We don't know where to turn': Aylesbury family struggling to fend for themselves appeal for help

Carol and William Bennett at their home in Stoke Mandeville
Carol and William Bennett at their home in Stoke Mandeville

A disabled woman who cares for her father, a 93-year-old who served in the Second World War, at their home in Stoke Mandeville say they ‘don’t know where to turn’ as they struggle to get by.

Carol Bennett, 66, who relies on an electric wheelchair after contracting a brachial plexar injury, lives with her father William, 93, who was a private in the 3rd Gloucester Regiment.

They have two hopes for the year - one to get the pair much needed respite care as they struggle to fend for themselves and secondly to get William a place on a ‘voyage of remembrance’ in June as part of the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

Mr Bennett, who struggles to walk said: “I was called up at the age of 17 in 1944.

“The British were trying to capture Caen and we had Canada on one side and the United States on the other side.

“We had to wait for several days to advance because the weather was bad. Thousands died in the attack on both sides. I lost people I knew which was so hard.

“It was my first battle and the worst moment was when the Boche opened fire on us from 100 yards with automatic weapons.”

Mr Bennett was a keen sportsman during his days in the forces, and claims that he ran the mile in under four minutes two days before Roger Bannister.

He said: “I did it during a games event and ran it in 3:59.04 - it was timed but there was nobody officially there so it couldn’t be recognised.”

Carol and William moved to Stoke Mandeville in 1984, with William working for Londis Holdings and Carol working as a nurse at Stoke Mandeville Hospital alongside her sister June.

Carol was told to give up work after an incident in which she was attacked by a patient.

Ten years ago she was struck down by a brachial plexar injury which left her confined to a wheelchair and with her arm in a sling.

Carol and William were both cared for at home by June, who became ill during the family’s Christmas break to Eastbourne in 2017.

June died at the family home in February 2018 and for the past year Carol and William have been desperate to get outside help.

The couple managed to get one week of respite care at Princess Marina House, an assisted living facility at Littlehampton, last year.

They are hoping to get further respite care later this year and are hoping to get William on an organised trip to Normandy.

Carol said: “It would be the trip of a lifetime for him.

"I can technically go as his carer but because of my wheelchair I am not able to.

“My leg is burned from the knee down because of my condition and I struggle to eat and swallow.

"I cannot wash and dress myself so William has to help me.

"I cannot move my fingers or cut my nails.

“We don’t know where to turn - we have written to Parliament and our MP but it is a waste of time.

"We have contacted the Royal Air Force to say we need help.

“We have approached the NHS but we both qualify for different types of care - I qualify for medical care and William qualifies for social care but we would have to pay for that and I am not sure if we can afford it."

Although William gets care one day a week at the centre in Fairford Leys and one day of care at the Princes Centre in a week, the family are desperately trying to regular support for themselves.

Carol said: “We feel like we have fallen through the net - nobody wants to know us. Our GP has been fantastic in his efforts but we do need more help.”

A spokesman for Carers Bucks said: "Carers Bucks has supported the Bennett family for more than ten years including when Mrs Bennett senior was alive.

"We cannot set out the details of this support without the family’s permission for data protection reasons.

"We have visited the family on many occasions and had numerous telephone conversations with them.

"As a local carers support charity we provide advice, information, guidance and practical support, all of which have been available to William, Carol and to Mrs Bennett senior when she was alive."