Family recipes add flavour for RAF fundraiser

FORMER RAF airman Barry Harvey tries to ignore his constant pain – from a botched hernia operation – because he’s on a mission.

He’s keen to get a family recipe book typed up and published and what irks him most is that he’s unable to do it himself.

“I’m a grafter, not a shirker,” he said at his St Lawrence Road, Luton, home. “I have always worked hard and now my wife has to do everything. It really bugs me.”

The father-of-two has five wedge fractures in his back and suffers from arthritis and osteoporosis. As a result he now finds writing impossible and typing almost as difficult.

During long spells in hospital he started collating a cookery book featuring recipes from his Jewish Austrian childhood and his wife Diane’s Jamaican background.

He’s hoping that a Good Samaritan will help him get it published while he struggles to get compensation for the surgery that went wrong, leaving him virtually crippled.

The handsome young man in uniform who smiles out from a black and white photo on the mantel is now bent almost double and skeletally thin.

He’s enormously grateful for the help he’s received from the RAF Association and if his book makes any money, he wants all proceeds to go to them.

“They’ve sorted out some issues with my pension and they’re trying to get me a wheelchair,” he explained.

But he’s disgusted by the way this country treats its ex-servicemen. “It’s shameful,” he said. “You serve your country and get nothing back.

“I’ve written to David Cameron but he just passed it on to another department.

“They’re cutting back on the military to save money and they regard the people who serve as cannon fodder.”

Barry, 54, left school in Leeds and trained as a chef. But he signed up for the Air Force when he was 19.

“It was something I always wanted to do,” he said.

He served as an airman in ground radio before joining the prison service. He was forced to retire when he was injured moving a metal cage.

He then became a parking services supervisor and NVQ assessor with Luton Borough Council, training new staff.

But he was medically retired after the hiatus hernia operation in 2002.

Barry said: “When you’re forced to stop working through no fault of your own it’s very hard.”

> If you can help Barry with his book, call 01582 400089.

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