Did anyone manage to catch Comic Relief People’s Strictly? It was won by a great bloke called Cassidy Little, he was a Royal Marine who was seriously injured by a bomb in Afghanistan and though I am not usually a fan of Strictly, it was a great show and did a lot of good…
Anyway Cassidy lost a leg in Afghanistan and walks with a prosthetic limb, he quite rightly has a blue badge to enable him to park in accessible places. I was sent this image from his Facebook page that is being shared around the globe as we speak and I just thought it was yet another great example of why campaigns like #MoreThanMeetsTheEye is so important.
He was parking outside the BBC after doing some filming, he had his blue badge on display yet when he came back to his car, he found this note accusing him of parking in a disabled bay when he wasn’t disabled. “Photograph taken” they declare! Because of course, if you can’t see a disability in the flash of a photograph it can’t be there, right?
I could rant and rave all day about the cowardice and sheer egotistical ignorance of the person who wrote this note, but instead I will hand over to L/CPL Cassidy Little of the Royal Marines himself.
Yesterday, while doing some filming with the BBC, I parked my vehicle in a designated disabled parking spot in front of the Meadows Park. I parked there because I do, in fact, have a blue badge, which is in date and registered to my name. This blue badge was on display for the ticket warden, other visitors, and indeed the world to see. Both Aspects of the blue badge were displayed, and I was parked between the lines.
The entire scene was 100% legal.
You can imagine my surprise when I returned to my vehicle after the shoot to find the attached note, from an anonymous local, lying on my windscreen. I have searched the note thoroughly for a return address or contact detail, but I am afraid that the coward left no such details. So I ask that I may respond with a very public note to him/her about my feeling on the subject.
If you could ‘Share’ my thoughts to this unknown ‘Parking Anorak’, I would be very much in your debt.
I think it is important to point out that the reason I went to Afghanistan was to support the western word, and its way of life. The entire reason that people are able to take advantage of a government for things like Blue Badges, Education, DLA, Tax benefits, Public services, police, NHS, Fire service… etc… is because people like me go to war to stop the bad people who want to rip that way. So when one of our brave soldiers, like me, returns barely alive, missing a leg, and finds himself in a position where he might need a blue badge, I don’t expect the recipients of these government benefits to act like spoiled little brats. Please remember that your way of life has cost ‘life’ to maintain, and in this case, ‘limb’.
Now, I have spent the last 4 years trying to behave like a fully-able person, because that is what you strive for when you have parts of your body traumatically ripped from you. You want it all to go away and for things to return to normal.
So if you happen to see me in trousers (which I have only recently become comfortable wearing), walking without a limp (which I have spent years trying to perfect) please keep in mind that my leg has not grown back, and the discomfort I live with every single day does not go away.
And if the writer of this letter wants further evidence of this, I will happily send them a picture of me, cleaning the blisters on my stump, for their next birthday.
Thank you for your time,
L/CPL Cassidy Little
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We salute you Lance Corporal, let us all remember that there is #MoreThanMeetsTheEye