Vera’s family are steeped in military history. Both her parents served (that’s how they met), but her reason for volunteering for The Royal British Legion is due to her son Pete.
He was with the Armoured Support Group in Afghanistan when his vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED). Pete lost both legs below the knee and broke his back in the blast. Vera still finds it difficult to talk about that day in May 2008 – calling it “the incident”.
Volunteering to say thank you
The family feel they owe a debt of thanks to the Legion, who were there to offer practical help when Pete needed it most.
Vera said: “I became involved with the Legion’s Poppy Appeal simply to say ‘thank you’
“When Peter came home after his incident in 2008, I became so frustrated hearing him falling over constantly in the bathroom whilst negotiating the bath to have a shower. The first time he went for a shower he gashed his head.
The great thing about volunteering for the Legion is that you’re in control."
“We started to look at ways we could borrow enough cash to make bathing easier for him, but then the Legion stepped in and helped to pay for a complete new wet room.”
“It sounds like a little thing, to be able to shower without help but it was a huge thing for me,” says Pete.
“Being in the military and being stubborn, I hated being dependent on anyone so it made me feel like a man again to be able to do things for myself.”
Vera Dunning with her son Pete.
Pete has since rebuilt his life, learning how to walk with his prosthetic legs – and then learning how to ski. He became so good at it, he joined the combined services disabled ski team and carried the Olympic torch at the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver.
“Peter was always very active and physical,” says Pete’s Dad, Frank.
“He was a good rugby player before the incident, and always fancied being a PT Instructor. We’re so proud of him - when he went skiing at the world championships in Italy, we went to watch him – it was just incredible: skiing, with no legs!”
Pete now teaches Rugby Tots across the North West, and he’s about to start flying lessons, in a specially adapted aircraft.
Vera Dunning has been volunteering for the Legion to say thank you after her son was given support.
“The great thing about volunteering for the Legion is that you’re in control – you can do as much or as little as you like,” says Vera.
“Pete thinks it’s great, he even comes along and helps me, showing off his bionic legs, so he always ends up with more money in his collection tins than the rest of us!”
Vera had a record year in 2016, raising £12,735 in Moreton and Hoylake and she also raised a further £11,000 at her local Morrison’s in New Brighton.
The Legion’s Community Fundraiser for Cheshire West, Ruth Jones, said: “Vera is a great representative for the Legion, she has a great relationship with her volunteers and they have massive respect for her. She is a great volunteer.”
Volunteer and make a difference
Join volunteers like Vera and help support those who are serving and their families.