My sister and I had a joint business running a small, independent pub. I did the finance and she ran it day-to-day. My main job was at a big corporate company. I was married and my daughters were pre-schoolers when our family went through an incredibly hard time.

The global recession in 2008 really shook our pub business. People stopped going out; it was like it changed overnight. As an independent local business, we didn't have much resource to fall back on. Our revenue plummeted. My sister was struggling to cope as well - it fell to me to manage the failing business as best I could.

At the same time my wife was diagnosed with Huntington's Disease. We were told that it's a terminal condition that would decline. I was facing bankruptcy. As a chartered accountant that meant I'd probably lose my job too. Then there were pressures of caring for 2 small children and my wife - it was very difficult for all of us.

I got in touch with CABA and found the help invaluable. They helped me in 2 really important ways: carer support and debt advice. The people working at CABA understood the emotional strain I was under, and they were really competent in navigating the system. They told me what support my family were eligible for and how to get it. As my wife's condition progressed we were able to get a daily carer. This really helped in the last year or so, but sadly my wife's health declined and she passed away.

Throughout all this I was terrified of bankruptcy. But CABA gave me debt advice and negotiated with my creditors for me and we created a repayment plan that avoided bankruptcy. Companies respond better when they are dealing with an organisation like CABA. They're less likely to keep calling and applying pressure. The sense of the relief was enormous. I have now almost paid off all the creditors and am very much looking forward to being debt-free again. It was traumatic and difficult for that long period, but I felt I had someone who was 100% on my side to help me through the nightmare."

Things are still difficult for my daughters who are now almost secondary school age, but I have the support I need. We're moving forward with our lives and things are getting better despite our loss.

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 contact us.