How the Trust helped The Hickman Family
The Trust supports dozens of families whose lives have been torn apart by the dangers of frontline policing. In this touching interview, Georgina and Brian Hickman reveal how they – with the help of the Trust – have worked through tough times.
In October 2009 my entire family’s life changed forever, none more so than my dad’s after his accident at work. Confined to using a wheelchair to travel any considerable distance, and a walking stick for short distances he has become dependent on the help my sister, mum and I provide.
My dad and I have always had a good relationship, we share a very similar sense of humor that never fails to get us in trouble with my mum, and we share similar interests in history – making for some interesting conversations. Since his accident our relationship has only got stronger. We rely on each in different ways, he supports me at university and I help him with use the internet. After his accident, my dad had to switch motorbikes for mobility scooters, and though this slowed down his pace of life, he didn’t let it to affect his spirit. His resilience and strength through the stressful and painful period, where he’s had 14 operations and been forced into early retirement, is inspiring. To see your dad physically deteriorate before your eyes is a heart-breaking experience, but to witness the courage and determination he faced every new hurdle thrown his way with has left me in awe of him. I know if I become half as strong, intelligent and compassionate as I’ve witnessed my dad be, I will be happy.
The money that the Police Dependants’ Trust has sent me has helped an enormous amount. It has helped me with my weekly food shops and also helped cover unexpected costs that have come my way. The money has also allowed me to play netball at university covering the affiliation and kit costs which would have otherwise prevented me from being able to participate. Being able to play netball has broadened my experience at university as it has meant I have met girls I would otherwise not have met. It’s also greatly improved my confidence and given me more responsibility as I have just been appointed head of umpiring for the club. The PDT’s generosity has also allowed me to take up an amazing opportunity by paying for my flights to Chicago for an international leadership programme. The aim of the programme is to develop leaders through a diverse range of challenges.
I am to grateful for all the help the Trust has given me and my dad. They have made an extremely stressful time bearable, and now my dad doesn’t have to worry about me at university and instead focus on himself.
Since leaving the force in 2016 because of an injury, money has been a struggle. My injury was put in the wrong band (33% disabled rather than the correct 66%) and so I didn’t get the right award. My salary went from £40,000 a year to £17,000 overnight. [This has now been resolved]
The help the Trust have given us has been fantastic. They’ve done up my whole bathroom, which I wouldn’t have been able to afford. I’ve now got a walk-in shower, and the toilet and sink has been raised, so everything is disabled friendly. I didn’t have any handrails and I was going up and down the stairs on my hands and knees. I now have grab handles wherever I need around the house. It’s given my more independence and a huge sense of dignity.
Through this time my main priority was making sure that Georgina got to university and got everything she needed up there. I heard about a bursary the Trust offers for children of injured officers going to university. They awarded my daughter Georgina a grant that gets paid straight into her account. It means she can eat healthily and it pays for her netball. She’s got extra books for university and the money has helped her buy a Mac laptop too.
It makes me so happy, because she can afford to come home to visit, so we get to see more of her. She’s studying Ancient History and she’ll come out with a good degree. It’s important to me and she wants it so badly.
Georgina was one of the 30 people picked from 1,000 applicants to go on an international business leadership course for a week in Chicago. It’s a trip of a lifetime. At the end of the week participants will meet up with CEOs from big companies and do a presentation. They’ll ask her questions and give her advice. We’ve got her flights covered too from the Trust and without them she wouldn’t be able to go.
I’m so proud of Georgina. This has only been made possible because of the grant from the Trust. I know that they will always be there if we need anything and it just puts my mind at rest.