NEWS COMMENT: Being caring shouldn’t just be reserved for Christmas

Normandy veteran Charlie Pratt, 93, of Paulsgrove, and Pompey legend Alan Knight
Normandy veteran Charlie Pratt, 93, of Paulsgrove, and Pompey legend Alan Knight
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They have fought to defend the freedom many of us enjoy now.

But sadly, the toll of service for many of our veterans can be tremendous – for some, it can be too much.

If it’s not the mounting numbers of servicemen and women battling PTSD, then it’s those we hear of now living on the streets – or worse.

Take the story of Andy, the homeless veteran who was living in a tent in Hilsea a few weeks ago.

A picture of his sign, appealing for work (and note: not demanding money from passers-by) was shared on Facebook.

Within hours the image went viral and many went to his aid, helping him find a shelter and work. It was the epitome of Christmas spirit – albeit a few weeks early.

But what about those veterans living silently in our community, battling PTSD or loneliness over Christmas, with nobody to comfort them?

Shouldn’t we all have a responsibilty to watch out for them?

That is what The News is today asking our readers to consider.

We’re not asking the world of people – just for them to be neighbourly.

It can be as simple as chatting to an elderly veteran or checking up on a family member who has served in the forces.

As we report today, Christmas for many can be a difficult time, full of mixed emotions.

Some have desperate pangs of survivor’s guilt, remembering their comrades who may have died – but are too proud to speak out and talk to someone.

Charities – as amazing as they are – can only do so much.

Considering Hampshire has one of the largest veteran populations in the UK, the community should pull together to lend a support hand. So please, don’t leave our veterans out in the cold this winter.