An army bomb disposal expert who has spearheaded training in how to handle improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Afghanistan has enjoyed a Cornish holiday with his family at CLC World’s Trenython Manor, under the Give Us Time Initiative.
Sergeant Simon Hannaford (35), his wife Michelle (34) and their three children Charlotte (13), Joshua (8) and two-years-old Jack, have spent half term relaxing and enjoying all that’s on offer at the country house resort.
Sgt Hannaford, of Catterick Troop, has been almost permanently on bomb disposal duty in recent years, putting an enormous strain on his family, who live in married quarters. He has completed two challenging and arduous tours of Afghanistan, living with the pressures associated with being a high risk operator – one of the Army’s most highly trained bomb disposal experts.
His first class performance led to him becoming a bomb disposal mentor to the Allied Forces’ Afghan partners and he has been key to delivering specialist IED training and mentoring the Afghan National Security Forces as part of the process to pave the way for transition of power to the Afghan Government.
Wife Michelle has supported him throughout, and looked after their three children without the advantages of having any family nearby, and the couple have not had the opportunity to enjoy a proper family holiday since 2009.
Tragically, Sgt Hannaford’s father died suddenly just over two months ago while he was in Afghanistan during his latest tour and he was rushed home to be with his family. The Give Us Time break has provided the family with the opportunity to relax together away from the stresses and strains of army life and his regiment put his name forward for the scheme believing a holiday would be a fitting way to ‘reward a truly selfless and committed soldier and his family’.
The Give Us Time project was launched last year by former defence secretary Dr Liam Fox and aims to provide holidays for armed service families to recover from the trauma of combat and to adjust in a neutral and quality environment. Dr Fox called on holiday home operators, second home owners, and timeshare companies and owners to donate weeks which could be used by service personnel and their families for recuperation after a tour of duty, by families who have lost a loved one and by those who have suffered mental or physical injury in combat.
A database was set up to register donated weeks and CLC World Resorts & Hotels was one of the first companies to sign up. The company provided a holiday in Tenerife for the first family to benefit under the scheme and has been delighted to offer the accommodation for the Hannafords, the second family to enjoy a break.
CLC World Managing Director Martyn Aldridge said: “We warmly applauded the Give Us Time initiative when it was launched and were delighted to play our part by both helping the first family chosen to benefit and now by inviting Sgt Hannaford and his family to Cornwall. Our service personnel do an immensely difficult job and have to put to one side the stresses and strains involving the family at home while the task at hand is carried out. So a relaxing holiday can be an important tool in the recuperation process.”
Dr Fox said: “I am extremely grateful to CLC World for their generosity, again, and I’m thrilled that the Hannaford family have had a fabulous holiday. From what I have seen of Trenython Manor it looks like a first class place for family relaxation. This is what Give us Time is all about.”