League needs more men to be one of 'our lads'

A League of Jewish Women “lad” has dedicated his volunteering to helping impoverished ex-servicemen and women.
Harold Weisberg, 79, has helped hundreds of ex-soldiers and their widows in Salford, where he is treasurer of the local branch of the national armed forces charity SSAFA.

Mr Weisberg decided that retirement from accountancy would not suit his “busy nature”. He devotes his volunteering to helping former soldiers to access funding available when crisis hits. Many live on pensions which does not afford extra cash to pay for a leaky roof or broken appliance.

“The saddest case I had was a soldier who had been on service in Northern Ireland in the late 1990s and was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder,” Mr Weisberg explained.

“This man was only in his late 30s. His wife had divorced him because she couldn’t cope and he had moved into council housing with virtually nothing — no carpet, or washing machine or a fridge. We provided him with furniture, curtains and a bed so his daughter could stay with him at weekends,” Mr Weisberg added.

Angella Carne, chair of the league’s north west region, said more male volunteers are needed, with only three Jewish “lads” working with ex-servicemen.

“We need more men because it’s mainly male soldiers they visit. We also run a bereavement counselling service which offers a two-day training course. We want younger people, such as graduates, and it is a great way to gain experience if they want to go into counselling as a career,” said Mrs Carne.

Last updated: 4:45pm, January 6 2014