A former soldier who suffers post-traumatic stress disorder is taking his family on their first holiday in years, thanks to the generosity of another veteran.
Robert Stoddart, from Stenhousemuir, and his wife Ann gave their children – Amy aged 18, 13-year-old Nikki and Billy (8) – an extra surprise on Christmas Day when they told them about the trip they will be enjoying in March. The family are going to a holiday home built by ex-Grenadier Philip Heard (84), who has offered his stunning house near Tarbert to service personnel, veterans and their families through charities including Help for Heroes.
Robert (39) served for 12 years with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.
He said: “My family and I are really looking forward to this amazing holiday as we’ve been through a lot over the past year.
‘‘My wife has also been unwell, but this year we were looking forward to Christmas as we hadn’t told the kids about the holiday.
“They were over the moon as they’ve only been on one holiday before.”
Mr Heard, who moved up to Scotland 31 years ago, became a farmer after leaving the Army.
He built a house next to his own home at Glenbarr near Tarbert, which boasts stunning island and sea views, and offered the use of it to military charities.
Help for Heroes has 12 families booked into the holiday home.
Alison Richmond, of Help for Heroes, said: “We are so grateful to Mr Heard for his generosity in donating his lovely holiday home so our wounded, injured and sick veterans like Robert and their families can enjoy a holiday in such peaceful and scenic surroundings.
“It will allow them to spend much-needed quality time with their families.”