By Anthony Carroll
Friday, January 10, 2014
When Kev Ogilvie was seriously injured in an explosion in Afghanistan, he knew he had a tough road ahead.
As he began his long recovery from the near-fatal injuries that left him paralysed from the waist down, he knew that he would be reliant on his family, friends and RAF colleagues to provide loving support.
But he also received help from two charities dedicated to helping injured service personnel and their families – and he is now keen to repay them for what he describes as their “fantastic” support.
Kev, 24, was on a patrol in Helmand province during his second tour of Afghanistan with Scottish-based 51 Squadron, RAF Regiment in 2012 when a improved bomb ripped through the armoured Jackal vehicle he was travelling in. He was seriously injured along with three other servicemen.
The blast left Kev with seven broken vertebrae and at one point doctors feared for his life.
But after being flown back to England, he spent two days in intensive care at a Birmingham hospital.
He was then transferred to an orthopaedic hospital in Shropshire and then went to the Hedley Court military rehabilitation unit.
While Kev was being treated in hospital and pondering how to rebuild his life, the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA) and the RAF Benevolent Fund marched into action.
Between them, the two armed forces charities provided special accommodation and a holiday cottage for Kev’s wife Amie, 23, their young daughter Grace and his parents, Rhona and Phil so they could be near him.
Their support made such a difference to Kev and his family as they coped with the difficult early days of his recovery that he and Amie are planning to give a massive financial boost to both charities as a “thank-you”.
The couple, who live in Carlton Colville, have set themselves the target of raising at least £10,000 for both charities during the course of this year. Kev, who is still a senior aircraftsman in the RAF Regiment, said: “The support we got from SSAFA and the RAF Benevolent Fund was just fantastic.
“It meant so much to us and I don’t know what we would have done without it. We just thought it would be nice to give something back to them. Instead of doing one event we then thought let’s do a whole year.”
Kev, who is now wheelchair-bound, said SSAFA and the RAF Benevolent Fund also gave him practical support as he and his family planned their move to Carlton Colville from Bury St Edmunds last year.
The main fund-raising event will be a mid-summer ball at Lowestoft’s Hotel Victoria on June 21.
But he and Amie also plan to carry out bucket collections and set up fund-raising stalls in Lowestoft in the months ahead.
The appeal will culminate with the couple doing a skydive – and they plan to recruit at least 10 people to take part to represent each of the thousands of pounds they hope to raise.
Amie said: “We have decided to dedicate 2014 to raising at least £10,000 as a thank-you for their support so they continue to offer this support to other families.”
Air Marshal Chris Nickols, of the RAF Benevolent Fund, said: “Kev and Amie are an inspiring example of a couple who have overcome personal tragedy and who now want support other RAF families in their time of need.”
Megan Bailey, of the SSAFA fund-raising team, said, “We are delighted to hear that Kevin and Amie have set themselves such an ambitious fund-raising target in aid of SSAFA. We wish them the very best of luck.”
■Kev and Amie are keen to hear from for any musicians and bands who would like to perform at the June charity ball and from any people or businesses willing to donate prizes for an auction/raffle on the night. To contact them, email: firstname.lastname@example.org