I’ve always been satisfied with my choice of career, the combination of helping people and playing with numbers is just something I really enjoy. I’ve been a chartered accountant since the mid-sixties, almost exclusively in private practice.

I’m now on a small pension as well as pension credits – I’ve all but retired, mostly because it has come to the point where I need to focus on the needs of my family.

We’re a close family and everyone does their best to be positive and push through life’s ups and downs, but there’s been quite a number of pressures in recent times. One of my sons has mental health issues and he was attacked so he needed to move home. My daughter and other son were already living with us. But that son has an auto-immune condition and heart problems, so despite his exceptionally strong attitude, we worry about him a great deal too.

On top of that, over the last 5 years my wife has had 15 different surgical procedures on her knee. A number of them went very wrong; essentially she contracted a number of life-threatening infections. She has ended up near death in intensive care 3 times now and fought her way back. I don’t know how she does it. She was in hospital for over 6 months in the end – it was very worrying and also very draining. I drove back and forth so many times, I think the car could find its own way there and back by now.

In January when my wife was supposed to be coming out of hospital, the central heating broke down. It was very important for the house to be warm for her so I arranged to have new central heating installed. It wasn’t until the work started that we were informed that my application for credit had been denied. I was landed with a bill for £4,500 right out of the blue. It was a huge worry. Initially I wasn’t sure what to do.

My children all applied for bank loans but each one of them was denied. I was starting to panic when I had the idea of calling CABA. Initially I was very reticent. I wasn’t brought up to look for charity, perhaps it’s my generation – we’re not accustomed to asking for help. The hardest part of the whole ordeal was picking up the phone to call them. But the support officer was very courteous and helpful. I got straight through and found the service extremely professional. I explained my situation and was told that a decision would be made within a week. In fact, just 3 days after contacting them I got a call saying that they would give me a grant to cover the full amount. The relief was astounding. Such a huge weight off my mind. It makes you proud – to be part of a profession that supports each other in that way.

I know how hard it can be to ask for help, but really I cannot commend CABA highly enough. If you have any problem, big or small, tell them about it. There’s bound to be something they can do to take the burden off your shoulders.

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:


*Some personal details of this client have been changed to protect their identity