Synergy between the force of nature and intrepid human spirit.
At 87, you’d think that it’s time to take things easy. Not so for Valerie Witts Law, who our voluntary caseworker David Dransfield describes as
“ A very young thinking and inspirational lady who is fiercely independent and very able”.
David has been Val’s caseworker for Age in Spain since 2017. Val lives in Tarifa, Andalucia, a beautiful coastal resort known world wide for its championship sea sports because of its perfect combination of the Atlantic sea and winds at the southernmost tip of Spain. A synergy between the force of nature and intrepid human spirit.
Val’s story started in 1936. Born in Epsom, Surrey, Val became a dental nurse when she left Dorking Grammer, before joining the Merchant Navy as a children's nurse in the 1960s. When she left the Merchant Navy, Val ran her own promotional business from 1973 to 1980.
She married her long-term partner Bill. He served in 42 Royal Marine Commando all over the world and saw active service in Malaya in 1951 / 1952.
In retirement, they moved to Spain where they had a very active social life. They became fully integrated members of local Spanish society and supporting the cultural activity of bull fights which became a real passion of theirs. Val was probably the first British woman to sponsor and arrange a bullfight, which enabled her to raise funds for the Spanish Cancer charity. This experience has left some enduring memories and lasting family friendships within the bull fighting community.
Sadly, Bill passed away in March of 2014 after a struggle with Parkinson’s and dementia.
For Val, life went on and she continues her charitable work to this day, actively helping charities worldwide that support people with Parkinson’s, Dementia and Alzheimer’s. She uses her listening skills and advice based on her real-life experiences with her husband Bill, talking to and mentoring people in some of the more undeveloped countries of the world.
After Bill’s death, even Val’s intrepid spirit couldn’t help her to manage a downward turn in her situation, and being strong, she knew she needed to ask for help. Age Concern Costa de la Luz caseworker, Pam Gallagher, helped to get her some financial support and this has continued through Age in Spain thanks to caseworker David since 2017. Val is a very grateful and appreciative beneficiary of annual grants from both the Royal Naval Benevolent Trust and the charity Turn 2 Us. With this help, Val has been able to continue living in her own home and be as independent as her mobility has allowed her to be.
Val still drives and she travels to the military chapel in Gibraltar from her home in Tarifa most Sundays for the Military Sunday Service. She is a respected friend of the Chaplaincy in Gibraltar and has a great relationship with the Military community at the highest level, attending services and the annual Remembrance Day Parade.
More recently Val’s hearing has deteriorated and the thought of having to find the funds for hearing aids was very concerning for her, but thanks again to the Royal Naval Benevolent Trust, a grant to buy hearing aids has changed her life. Now she continues, as positive as ever, with the help of the Trust. Val has nothing but praise for the Royal Naval Benevolent Trust, Turn2Us and Age in Spain. Their partnership has facilitated her ability to stay in her beloved Spain.
“Without the financial help and support of the two Charities RNBF and Turn2Us I wouldn’t have been able to return, through the charities I support, any of the kindness I have received. Thank You!”
Help us to help more veterans in Spain. Too often, people reach out to us when things have reached a crisis point. No-one likes to feel vulnerable or dependent, but asking for help the moment you need it, just like Val did, can transform your life and help you keep your dignity and independence. If you know an ex service veteran or military family living in Spain that is struggling, don't wait - contact us.
Our specialist support service to help UK veterans and families in Spain (whatever their age) is only made possible by operational grants from The Soldiers Charity, The Royal Navy Royal Marines Charity and the RAF Benevolent Fund. Our volunteers give one to one help with information, support with managing difficult life changes, help to access social care and health services and when needed, direct financial support from UK military charities to help maintain independence in later life.
Can you help us? To help everyone plan their life to the fullest in Spain, we need your support. We are completely dependent on donations from people like you for our services. We receive no government funding and every year we struggle to keep going.
A regular donation of just €15 per month will enable us to provide a weekly friendship call to an isolated older person, every week of the year. A one off donation of €50 will enable us to make a home visit to a vulnerable person who needs to access vital services but has no-one to help.
Please donate if you can: https://www.ageinspain.org/donate.
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