Paul served in The Queen’s Royal Regiment (West Surrey) for 30 years. In 2021, after a serious fall caused by ataxia (a neurological condition), his family decided he needed better care and he now lives in a care home for veterans in Surbiton run by our partner charity Royal Star & Garter.
Paul was born into an Army family in Sanderstead, Surrey, and later moved to Devon. In 1954, he left boarding school, where he had enjoyed being a cadet, and joined the Army to do his National Service. He was commissioned into The Queen’s Royal Regiment (West Surrey) and for the next 30 years he served all over the world, including N Ireland, Germany, Cyprus, Korea and Aden, eventually reaching the rank of Major.
In 1984, Paul was medically discharged from the Army. He says: “I was retired on the grounds that I couldn’t hear. All the bangs and explosions had taken its toll on my hearing. All the rifles, the 17lb anti-tank guns, mortars and general bangs probably affected me more than others. I was 47.”
For some years afterwards, Paul lived with and cared for his elderly parents, both of whom were in poor health. Then in 2007, following several falls, he was diagnosed with ataxia, a neurological condition that affects his balance and co-ordination. He says: “I had been falling over for a number of years and put it down to my hearing problems. But I realised that this was more serious than I thought.”
In December 2021, Paul suffered a particularly bad fall which left him with six broken ribs. He also lost strength in his left arm. In 2022, he became a resident of Royal Star & Garter’s care home in Surbiton, where he still lives. He says: “My family decided I couldn’t live safely by myself, so I suggested that I go to Royal Star & Garter as I knew of its good reputation and that I would be well looked after. The staff are very friendly and kind people.”