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Sue Norton doesn't have to imagine. In a letter to Mole Valley District Council, she explains:
“My husband, Captain Peter Norton GC, was very seriously injured in Iraq 2 years ago. Amongst his horrendous injuries he lost his left arm, left leg and suffered major nerve damage to his remaining leg, he is confined to a wheelchair. He spent the first year at Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham and the second year in rehabilitation at DMRC Headley Court. He is still there as I type.
He was awarded the George Cross for his very brave actions in March 2006. We have 2 young sons and at the time of Peter's accident Toby was 7 months old and Tom was 2 years old.
Peter was initially treated at the American facility at Ramstein in Germany and it was here that I (and our youngest son Toby) experienced The Fisher House. The Fisher House (and there are quite a few in America, gifted by beneficiaries for the specific use of helping the families and injured personnel). They provide a great family environment for visiting relatives that allows self-sufficiency. They also provide facilities for patients not requiring constant in-hospital treatment to be with their families thus creating a wonderfully supportive environment.
Back home in the UK there was no facility suitable for visiting families with children at either Selly Oak Hospital or Headley Court. Sadly it seems to be a persistent denial on the part of The Armed Forces / Government to recognise the wider impact of Service Personnel being injured. Most families do not live anywhere near either of these facilities; hence the need was and still is very apparent. Rehabilitation takes such a long time, months roll into years, the families basically suffer as a result, and are often very alone and at a distance from their own family support network.”
36 Grays Lane Ashtead