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Remembering and Honouring...

Telegraph | News | Leonard Cheshire charity seeks name change

Plans to change the name of the charity founded by the war hero and VC winner Leonard Cheshire, the RAF bomber commander who went on to dedicate his life to the care of the disabled, have "disappointed" his family.
The Leonard Cheshire charity, which cares for 21,000 disabled people, wants to change its image after a survey showed that most young people had never heard of him and did not know what the charity did.
Volunteers and residents in its 50 homes were asked for suggestions for a new name after its leaders said: "The Leonard Cheshire name can be a barrier to achieving the organisation's goals."

Various new names have been suggested, among them Equability UK, A-BL UK, Disability UK and eQual UK.

A-BL UK - wow! what a bleeding trendy name, and what apart from a weak pun does that mean, what does that stand for? Does it stand for honour, decency, self-sacrifice and bloody hard work for others or does it stand for designer glasses and couple of lines of something in a trendy Soho bar? If the brand name isn't being recognised for what it is then that is your own bloody fault, changing the name and logo is a marketing cop-out and rarely works. The managers of this organisation are obviously just rule-book robots - I doubt a single one of them has an ounce of the qualities that makes the Leonard Cheshire name one that they should be proud to shout about.

Leonard Cheshire - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

He was the only one of the 32 VC airmen to win the medal for an extended period of sustained courage and outstanding effort, rather than a single act of valour. His citation read;

'In four years of fighting against the bitterest opposition he maintained a standard of outstanding personal achievement, his successful operations being the result of careful planning, brilliant execution and supreme contempt for danger - for example, on one occasion he flew his P-51 Mustang in slow figures of 8 above a target obscured by low cloud, to act as a bomb-aiming mark for his squadron. Cheshire displayed the courage and determination of an exceptional leader.'

Cheshire was, in his day, both the youngest Group Captain in the service and, following his VC, the most decorated. His notable wartime record makes his subsequent career all the more remarkable.

On his 103rd mission, he was official British observer of the nuclear bombing of Nagasaki flying in the support B-29 The Great Artiste, an event which profoundly changed him. On his return from the mission he left the RAF and went home to his house, Le Court in Hampshire.

While deciding what he should do with the rest of his life he heard about the case of Arthur Dykes, who had formerly served under him and was suffering from cancer. Dykes asked Cheshire to give him some land to park a caravan until he recovered, but Cheshire discovered that Dykes was terminally ill and that this fact had been concealed from him. He told Dykes the real position and invited him to stay at Le Court.

Cheshire learned nursing skills and was soon approached to take in a second patient, the 94-year-old bedridden wife of a man whose own frailness meant he could no longer care for her himself. She was followed by others, some coming to stay and others to help. Although Le Court had no financial support, and was financially perilous most of the time, money somehow always seemed to arrive in the nick of time to stave off disaster. By the time Arthur Dykes died in 1948, there were 24 people staying at Le Court.


Lets also not forget that he stood fire buzzing a french factory 3 times in order to warn the french workers to take cover before he bombed it thereby ensuring that they didnt suffer a single casualty.
A Gentleman in every sense of the word, and these clowns are not fit to polish his shoes

Bloody nonsense. Cheshire was one of my boyhood idols -- AND I'M A SOUTH AFRICAN BY BIRTH!!!

His biography should be required reading in primary or high schools. Don't hold your breath waiting for THAT to happen.

Just reading up on my relative Leonard Cheshire VC.

I knew Leonard and Sue from '59 to '62, when a delivery-boy for Peters, the Bromley (Widmore Green) chemist he used. To think people today don't know who those two were, let alone what they stood for, is appalling! I've even read some nasty things said about them. I know there are people out there on the www who think I'M mad, but there are some really WEIRD people out there! One was a policeman who was investigating the death of one of Leonard's nurses. I know not the reality of that, but that policeman, Richard Card, must have been having a nervous breakdown and was misreading the signs he thought he saw. He admits to being on medication, perhaps he was allergic to it. The Cheshire I knew was a modern Jesus Christ. The veiled suggestions that he and Sue were murdering patients for the money, like that guy Shipton, using the organisation to raise serious cash they then siphoned-off, is totally out of charactor for the lovely people I knew and loved. Let alone that the police and the authorities were helping cover it up..... Why?

It was also suggested Leonard was under suspicion for letting the German's know where the bomber formations were, harbouring Nazi tendencies, by sending signals during the mission. Fact: there were NO bomber formations, each bomber flew by itself, though they did follow a rough route. The Germans also knew these routes. Fact: Leonard sometimes sent out signals to attract the nightfighters onto HIMSELF, giving the other guys a better chance of getting through. His crew - I met them - grinned at this. Despite radar, the German's had severe problems finding any bombers, let alone shoot them down. Even having Leonard helping them find him! He was like that. He was an intelligent and brave man. "I was never, ever, conscious of any fear. Perhaps this wasn't a good idea. I was always concentrating on the job. Flying the Mosquito, my navigator once asked me not to dive in again - I was trying to drop the flares correctly so the bomber-crews got a good hit first time and didn't need to risk their lives coming over again the next night - I hadn't noticed the tracer from the intense machinegun-fire streaming past inches away. He knew we were going to die next run in and was frightened. Well, the flares were about right, so I didn't bother again. Irksome, though. I can be a bit... distant... at times. But I'm like that. Told him to tell me again, if needed. And he did!"

Cheshire spent all his spare time (he had some? WOW, when was that!?) raising the money to run the homes, scathing that the government refused to sponsor his homes even to the third of the total costs he had suggested. "Knowing the costs are covered to a degree eases the problem of raising the rest of the cash. I do admit that I do LIKE raising the cash, but having said that there have been times there was no money left at all and we were getting into debt. Luckily, many of the creditors waived the money when they found out. I don't agree to charitable homes in the first place, looking after people who paid tax all their lives, fought for their countries, to be abandoned in their time of need - that's the government's job! But the government relies on idiots like me and Sue to do their dirty work for them - and we do it! But what else is there? It must be done."

No, neither Sue or Leonard ever got rich on the backs of cripples. But the government, and now investment-houses (or what ever they're called) run by faceless 'suits', certainly seem to have done. I read a while back the Cheshire foundation is worth 30 million pounds and has government backing. Leonard and Sue never had that. Do all the Cheshire patients feel that they are genuinely cared for, by real people? I hope so, for all WERE back when I knew Leonard and Sue. Hands-on service, 24/7. Cost what it will (mostly their health, from what I could see).

I recall meeting an Indian girl Sue brought up to England, to show her that there was indeed backing for the home she had opened in India. We were told Sue turned up with the clothes on her back, begged and borrowed the cash and a building to house the abandoned and raped women in, and even borrowing the shotgun she had to threaten the angry men with, men who thought they had the right to come and rape the women, they were after all, whores? Sue had to let loose a few shots into the ground to get them to back off! How many of 'the faceless suits' ever did that? They took over a functioning organisation. It might have been a crude organisation, but it was there. And all due to two very brave and dedicated people, who cared less for spit and polish, just results.

Leonard and Sue must be turning in their graves at all the shinanigans going on in their name today. They lived for their patients, to the degree their families and friends lucked-out at times. Their son was a mere babe in arms the last we met and Sue was still pregnant with Gigi (Elizabeth) a nickname she obviously got due to the fact the Cheshire's knew the Cilento family, Rafe being the world's authority on tropical diseases. His daughter, Diane married Sean Connery, and her daughter, born to Andy Volpe di Smalle, a friend of mine (helped him in his garden) was nicknamed Gigi.

Anybody out there know where the Cheshire family is today? Knew Leonard's neice well, she was 11 years or so old and helped Leonard wash and dress the bodies. To give him the time to do something more useful I took over that job. You get used to it, ok? Love to chat with her, and Dave Shannon's boy, too. Those two could tell you stories....

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