War veteran’s plea for help to stay at home

A TERMINALLY-ill war veteran is pleading for more help at home so that he and his wife can stay together.

12:00pm Friday 20th July 2012 in News By Joanna Codd

 Bernard Read and his wife Vera


Until recently, cancer sufferer Bernard Read, 87, of Poole, has looked after his 86-year-old wife Vera, who has dementia – including cooking for her and giving her insulin injections.

But after a recent spell in hospital he is unable to continue giving her the same care.

His prostate cancer has spread to his bones and he has congestive heart failure. He is visited by carers three times a day.

Mr Read said: “My wife doesn’t get any care at all. The main time it is necessary is at night. I can’t get out of bed and my wife is diabetic.

“If she had a hypo I couldn’t do anything about it. She could be downstairs on her own and she’s bad with electrics.

“We’ve never done anything without each other. She’s lost without me and I’m lost without her. These might be our last days together.”

Mr Read, joined the Royal Navy in 1940 at the age of 15. The holder of 12 medals, he also spent 12 years in the Territorial Army and used to work for the RNLI .

Mrs Read served in the Women’s Land Army during World War Two. The devoted couple have been together for 57 years and renewed their wedding vows last year.

The pair’s daughter Jean Knight said: “Dad’s getting weaker all the time, but we are trying to keep them together. Mum stuck a knife in the toaster one day and fused all the lights. She’s burnt her hand on the cooker. The people we’re talking to don’t see that she’s done anything dangerous.”

Son Jack said: “There’s no way they can be split up. They want to be here. They’re fine in the daytime, it’s at night that they need help.”

Betty Butlin, service manager at Borough of Poole, said: “Our priority for all service users is to maintain people in their own home. We are constantly assessing people to ensure we manage any risks and change in circumstances that may arise.

“We currently provide services for Mr Read and continue to work with the family to offer support to both Mr and Mrs Read.”


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