Royal Marine with 30 years' service faces new battle

"to keep family home"



An Angus marine who is being forced from his home after taking a desk job to
look after his cancer-stricken wife has resigned

Royal Marine David Millard (47) has handed in his notice as he fights to keep his family in their specially-adapted Arbroath home.

His wife Wendy (38) said the Ministry of Defence's fight to get them out had been a major factor in her husband's decision to quit after over 30 years of service.

A civil summary cause case — taken in the name of Lord Wallace of Tankerness against David Millard — called at Arbroath Sheriff Court on Monday.

It was continued until October — but if the application is granted then it would give the couple and their two children, Mollie (11) and Cameron (9), four weeks to move out of their semi-detached East Muirlands Road home, which is owned by the armed forces.

Mr Millard said he could not comment on the ongoing proceedings. However, his wife said the eviction fears have put added strain on her own failing health and home life.

Mrs Millard, who is preparing to go into Ninewells Hospital for treatment, said: "This has put a real strain on our relationship — we're now two different people. That's the reason why he had to put his notice in, because I couldn't stick it any more.

Devotion

"The Royal Marines was his entire life — the amount of devotion he still gives them considering what he's getting back is unbelievable. Through all the bad weather we had last year he would drive as far as he could to Edinburgh and kept a mountain bike in the boot to make sure he got in to the office. He did his cruciate ligament on Christmas Eve and was meant to have six weeks off work then rehabilitation and he went straight to his work on January 6.

"The kids have only really known this house. It's been extremely stressful because we don't know when we could be put out of the house. That's what terrifies me."

In 2006, Mrs Millard was diagnosed with cancer and her spine had started to crumble. Due to late diagnosis, there is little that can be done to treat her condition.

Mr Millard took a position in a military recruitment office so he could be closer to his family when his wife took ill. He has now been taken to court because, according to government rules, he no longer qualifies for the service accommodation.

Mrs Millard said it makes no sense to kick them out of their home of eight years. It has been adapted to include special bathroom and kitchen fittings and a stairlift and she says it would cost £40,000 to put the home back to the way it was.

"This is my home — this is where my children belong. We don't want to leave but it's looking inevitable that we will be forced out," Mrs Millard added. "They are going to put us out of this house and it will cost them almost £40,000 to put it back to the way it was.

"They are willing to put us out on the street and we are paying full market rent of £500 and our council tax on top of it. It makes much more sense to keep us here."

A spokesman for the MoD said, "MoD properties in the local area are for entitled service personnel. The MoD has a duty to ensure members of the armed forces and their families are provided with suitable accommodation to meet their specific requirements.

"This particular property is subject to an ongoing court case and it would be inappropriate to comment further."

The couple have begun looking at other places to live if the worst was to happen.

Mrs Millard said: "We've tried every avenue to look at other places to live — landlords in the private rental sector are not willing to allow us to convert and lose the rentable capability of that property if we change it.

"Buying is an option but we can't afford it just now with the way the market is. We want to stay in Arbroath and even my children's teachers at Muirfield Primary School don't think it would be good to uproot them."

Mollie and Cameron won Children of Courage awards two years ago for the massive role they play looking after their mum.

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