Fife RAF veteran partially paralysed after Aghanistan IED blast pays tribute to advice service

Allan completed two tours of Afghanistan in 2010 and 2013, where he was injured by an IED.Allan completed two tours of Afghanistan in 2010 and 2013, where he was injured by an IED.
Allan completed two tours of Afghanistan in 2010 and 2013, where he was injured by an IED.
An RAF veteran from Kirkcaldy partially paralysed after an IED blast in Afghanistan has thanked an advice service that has made a “massive difference” to his life.

Allan Ferguson (50), was forced to retire on medical grounds following his injuries due to the injuries sustained in the 2017 blast. He is also affected by hearing loss, which began during service in Iraq in 2003.

He is one of thousands of current and former servicemen and women helped by the Armed Services Advice Project (ASAP), which has received significant funding from the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, and is run by Citizens Advice Scotland on behalf of a funding partnership led by Poppyscotland.

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The service provides specialist advice and support to the armed forces community throughout Scotland, ranging from finances and employment to housing issues.

Thanks to the backing of the fund and others, advisors secured more than £2mn for clients between October 2020 and September 2021, supporting over 2000 people.

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Originally from Ayrshire, Allan followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the RAF, specialising in logistics and serving all over the world.

Highlights included working in mountain rescue in Scotland and Yorkshire for 10 years, and meeting his wife when they were both serving at RAF Kinloss.

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But it was while serving in Iraq in 2003 that he would first suffer hearing loss that would worsen over the years.

He then completed two tours of Afghanistan in 2010 and 2013, where he was injured by the IED.

He said: “I was just blown off my feet. The shock of the blast really got me.”

This impacted his brain, causing a functional neurological disorder that affects the way signals are sent to the rest of the body, eventually causing partial paralysis.

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By this time, Mr Ferguson was also affected by osteoarthritis in his knee, while his hearing loss caused issues with balance.

“Being stubborn, I just kept on going,” he said. “But over the years, these problems got worse, and eventually I had to leave the RAF and retire on medical grounds.

“I’ve been in and out of hospital for the last two years. I only sleep about four hours a night, and I stagger all over the place, and it’s hard dealing with people’s perceptions.”

Mr Ferguson received a lump sum and pension on leaving the RAF, but found getting further help was a long process, until he heard about ASAP.

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He said: “They were fantastic and helped my fill in all the forms, which were horrendous at times. The advisor was able to write everything down for me and support me through the application process.

“This has made a massive difference and I would definitely recommend the service.”Gary Gray, Poppyscotland’s head of welfare, said: “We’re very grateful to the RAF Benevolent Fund for their support in delivering this service, which has made a difference to thousands of members of the Armed Forces community.”

ASAP provides advice on benefits, housing rights, employment and more through regional offices throughout Scotland.

People can get in touch through their local Citizens Advice Bureau or by calling the national helpline on 0800 028 1456.

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