Jim served for many years in the RAF and in public service until a stroke left him temporarily paralysed down one side, bringing a sudden end to his career and financial turmoil. With help from The Poppy Factory, he was able to retrain and set out on a brand new path as a health and safety specialist.
Jim said: “I’ve always been employed. I served for six years all over the world in the RAF, then I moved into the public sector for many years.
“In my public services job I was probably working a 100-hour week, and my diet wasn’t very good. Then one Christmas, I had a stroke that left me paralysed down one side for 18 months.
“I loved my work but the decision was made for me that I had to leave the job. It was devastating. I was the main breadwinner for my family, but I started having to rely on credit cards and I ended up at breaking point, £30,000 in debt.
“I needed to get back into work, and Kirsty at The Poppy Factory really supported me. She would always go the extra mile.
“Coming from a background that’s quite process-driven, health and safety seemed like a good industry to go into. I needed to retrain and Kirsty helped me apply for funding from the RAF Benevolent Fund to do my Prince 2 qualification.
“I struggled to get a foot in the door with a lot of employers, but Kirsty directed me towards lots of different organisations and eventually I was able to get a job working in health and safety with Wilmott Dixon. It was a massive relief. I’ve always been a grafter – now I can focus on doing a good job, establishing myself and building up a good reputation.”