After my first marriage failed and my ex-wife and children moved away, I found myself in my mid-30s and starting over. I soon met a wonderful woman and we got married. I took a job in Oxford so that I could be close to my children from my first marriage. I was involved in some very exciting start-ups, built a great track record and raised over £5m in venture capital. It was a rollercoaster ride. I was responsible for lots of takeovers and acquisitions, from new businesses to international brands. I had 2 more children with my wife. We were very comfortable, and everything was going well.

I took the opportunity of forming a company with some very big players, and we all decided to invest our own money. I raised my part with a loan against our house. I was the first to sign, and then there was a gap of about a week between when I signed and the others were due to sign. Unfortunately, this was exactly when the financial markets started to crash. My business partners refused to sign, and I was liable for everything. Totally exposed. My lawyer told me there was nothing I could do. In short, we lost our house.

Then we were struck by 2 terrible bereavements. My daughter from my first marriage died of an aneurism. A year later, my son from my second marriage died in a traffic accident. My wife and I were drowning in debt and overwhelmed by grief. We’d gone from having everything to having nothing in so many different ways.

Around this time, I contacted CABA and told them everything. My wife is from Germany and she wanted to go home to be nearer her extended family. We felt like we needed to start again. CABA listened and said they’d  help us. It was the first time someone had really listened to us, and what we were going through.

CABA supported us to move to Germany. We should have been able to build a strong financial base from there, but then we had more setbacks. My health failed. It started with deep vein thrombosis, then I had a stroke, then prostate surgery. I also discovered that I have very brittle bones. I fell at home and broke my neck. Since then I’ve had a number of surgeries to fit metal plates into my spine. I’ve also had eye surgery because I was losing my eyesight. Later, I had another 2 strokes, the last of which was so challenging it left me unable to speak for some time.

Every time disaster has struck, CABA have been there for us, supporting our wellbeing. They helped us financially when we needed a stair-lift, a more accessible bathroom and to improve access to the garden.

More than that, they’ve been a listening ear. We phone and just talk to them because we need to talk. We’ve been given our own advisor who often phones us to check in. We feel supported in a way that wouldn’t have happened without CABA My wife and I have been able to stay together and look after each other. CABA has enabled us to have a safe home, to stay independent and stay together. Without CABA, we wouldn’t have had a life.

How CABA can help

CABA supports the wellbeing of past and present ICAEW members, ACA students, ICAEW staff members, and their spouses, partners and children up to the age of 25. For advice, information and support please: