Legion fits fire detector for veteran in nick of time

Vivienne Webb credits The Royal British Legion with saving her life after a fire alarm installed by the Legion woke her to a fire.

During the Second World War Vivienne served as a WREN Air Mechanic and was posted to a naval base on the Orkney Islands from 1942-1945.

Vivienne holds a picture of her with John after they moved back to the UK.

Whilst there she met her husband John who was serving in the Fleet Air Arm. After the war they travelled across the world with John’s work, with Vivienne learning to speak Arabic and Greek.

“I like to learn the language of the country I’m living in. I don’t like to not be able to speak to people in their own language,” explained Vivienne.

Contacting The Legion for help

Now approaching her 93rd birthday, Vivienne, who has problems with her sight, lives in Northampton.

Vivienne’s daughter Jacki lives close by and contacted the Legion’s handy van service, to help with basic maintenance in her mother’s house.

Vivienne with her daughter Jacki and son-in-law Charlie.

The Handy Van service plays a vital role in helping people remain active in their home. In Vivienne’s case they team identified a fire risk, repairing several overloaded electrical sockets and fitting two smoke alarms.

Only a week later a fire broke out in Vivienne’s kitchen whilst she was taking a nap on the sofa.

Vivienne points out the fire alarm that saved her life.

Luckily Vivienne was woken by the fire alarm and called the fire brigade.

 “I was just so shocked,” said Jacki who visited just after the fire.  

“I came in through the garage, smelt the smoke and there were these big strapping firefighters everywhere.”

“I’m so grateful for all they’ve done,” says Vivienne. “The Legion saved my life.”

Maintaining independence

Despite being visually impaired Vivienne is still fiercely independent. The Handy Van service has played a role in helping her stay indpendent. Each fitter is trained as a case worker, and assesses a person’s needs to ensure they get the help and support they, and their families, need.

Vivienne points to a security light installed a couple of days ago by the Poppy fitter.

“She still goes out on the bus to the local shops, and just asks people and then they find things for her and take her round,” says Jacki.

 “She’ll run up the high street ahead of me and then turn and say ‘Jacki where are you?’, and I’m behind her trying to keep up!”

Help support the Armed Forces community

Your support helps us provide services like Poppy Calls, enabling Vivienne and others like her to remain independent.

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