A FORMER soldier left disabled and bankrupt following a motorbike accident after leaving the Army is calling for more to be done to support veterans.
Colin Eaves, aged 49, of Patton Drive, Great Sankey, served for nine years as a drummer with 1st battalion Scots Guards, including tours to Northern Ireland and Hong Kong.
The father-of-three, who is backing a campaign by the Royal British Legion to offer support in Warrington, said: “It should be up senior officials in the Army and the Navy to make people aware there are services available that can help you, but they don’t.
“Often the only thing members of the Armed Forces know about the RBL is you have to turn up on Remembrance Sunday.
“They don’t know about all of the other kinds of support they offer with finances and housing, even finding you money if your roof is leaking.
“There are a lot of veterans walking the streets homeless with nowhere to go when there is help available and that is wrong.”
After leaving the Army Colin carried on with his long term passion for motorbike racing.
A crash during a race in April 2011 caused severe injuries meant he lost his job as a warehouse manager.
Broken bones in his pelvis, ribs, collar bones, shoulder blade, and spinal damage, mean he is still unable to walk properly.
He says major surgery on his spine might be needed.
The accident meant Colin, wife Sharon and their three children were in turmoil, unable to pay the mortgage.
They lost their home in 2012, and the family faced being homeless until Colin contacted the RBL.
It helped pay rent for a month on their current home in Great Sankey and covered costs of the bankruptcy.
The RBL has now opened a new drop-in centre in Liverpool that will serve veterans from Warrington.
Colin, who now volunteers for the Poppy Appeal as a way to say thanks, believes it will help get help to people who need it.
The granddad added: “The Legion was a massive help to get me back on my feet again.
“I found out they could help you in a million ways.
“There needs to be more awareness about what the Legion does and the new centre will help that.
“Anyone who needs help can go there and get it.”
The Royal British Legion has opened a new information centre on Williamson Street in Liverpool city centre, the first of 16 to be opened nationwide.
It will support current members of the Armed Forces and veterans from Warrington, with anyone welcome to drop-in for advice on services.
A new free phone helpline number - 0808 802 8080 - has also been launched.
Gillian McKinnon, the Legion’s manager for Cheshire and Merseyside, said: ”Being able to pick up a phone to a trained adviser, looking online for information or coming along to an office like this where you can talk face to face represents major progress.
“My team is totally committed to providing the best possible service for the service community, past and present, in Cheshire and Merseyside.
“From now on it will be easier than ever before for people to find the help and support they need.”