Imagine in a job interview you're asked whether you're planning to stick with your husband, who is serving in the Armed Forces. Imagine as a child you're sent to a different school every 2 years. Imagine you can't get a mobile phone contract, or a loan for a washing machine, or pay for anything by instalments because you don't have a decent enough credit rating. You don't have to imagine it - welcome to the world of the military family...
The veteran population of the UK is declining rapidly. In 2005, there were 4.8million veterans in the UK. Today, there are 2.83million, and in 2020 there will be 2.48million. In the face of such significant demographic change, the Armed Forces charity sector will have to evolve in some fundamental ways.
Horticultural therapy is a proven way of helping people with a range of mental health problems and it uses gardening to meet specific therapeutic or rehabilitative goals. In Gardening Leave's case, we help the men and women who serve our country, specifically the 20% of Armed Forces veterans who face a mental health issue.
Every day should be Remembrance Day. We should treat our war veterans with respect all year round, honour the military covenant and make sure that those injured or psychologically scarred in the line of duty get the care and medical treatment they deserve. My Party has views on how that should best be achieved, but this is not a time for partisan politics.
Strange things happen when you put your hand up and say you want to help Britain's combat Veterans secure civilian employment when they leave the Service. At short notice, and with little qualification other than this general willingness, I found myself sitting at a table with HRHs Prince William and Harry, a three star General and twenty international captains of industry...
Seventy-four years on, the heroism and sacrifice of these young men is the stuff of legend, romanticised and steeped in patriotism. So often portrayed with the iconic RAF moustache, the majority were probably too young to even have a moustache. Who were these men? How do they remember the Battle of Britain and what became of those who survived the years of war? What happened when they stopped being pilots, stepping out of uniform and back into civilian life?
We remembered too not just those from the First World War, but all wars past and present including those serving right now in Afghanistan and other Operations around the world. And, of course, it's not just the soldiers themselves but the families that give their all in support of those brave men and women.