Meet Lauren

SSAFA helped support Lauren's education after the death of her parents

Lauren McLeish

Lauren, 22, was just a baby when her father, a Lance Corporal in the British Army, was killed in Bosnia. Four years after her father’s death, Lauren's mother took her own life, and she went to live with her grandmother, Theresa. SSAFA has supported the family throughout Lauren’s childhood and adolescence.

A Difficult Start

Doing her best to look after her young granddaughter, in 2005 Theresa approached SSAFA to help provide for Lauren. SSAFA caseworker George Plenderleith took on the case and he went on working with the family until his retirement when Lauren turned 18. During that time, George was able to secure funding for a computer, books and school uniform, as well as carpeting and helping to furnish Lauren’s bedroom, which was in real need of improvement.

“Life without my mum and dad has been hard," says Lauren. I can’t thank SSAFA enough for the support my grandmother and I have received – it’s been life changing! When someone takes care of the little worries in life, it makes everything else seem less frightening.

A Bright Future

Lauren has recently graduated from university and here at SSAFA, we were thrilled to discover she has also secured her dream job of co-presenting a radio show. Lauren is now looking to give back and help support other military families who suffer loss and hardship: In 2017, she arranged a gala dinner to mark 21 years since her father died, raising more than £3,500 for SSAFA.

"I know how it feels to receive help," explains Lauren, "and I also know how it feels to donate in memory of a loved one -  it was an amazing feeling to give back."

"Thanks to SSAFA, I received help when I needed it the most and throughout my life to date."

Lauren Mcleish, recent graduate and SSAFA fundraiser