"I warned you Brenda, that's what you get for dating a soldier - heartache. A life of heartache." It's an army spouse's worst nightmare. It's what you fear more than anything. But fear cannot prepare you for the reality, or...
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"I warned you Brenda, that's what you get for dating a soldier - heartache. A life of heartache." It's an army spouse's worst nightmare. It's what you fear more than anything. But fear cannot prepare you for the reality, or the desperate heartache. I Married a Soldier tells the deeply moving, true story of Brenda Hale whose husband, Mark, was taken from her in an instant while serving in Afghanistan. In the midst of the grief, distress, and financial confusion caused by Mark's death, Brenda became determined to fight for the rights of her two daughters and their futures. Her campaigning to support bereaved forces families eventually led her into politics, where she rose to be a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly. This is the powerful story of how one woman found a way through an event that threatened to crush her, by drawing on her faith in God and on a personal strength she didn't know she had.
Brenda Hale had been married for 22 years when her husband was killed in Afghanistan, the longest serving soldier to be killed. His death sent shock waves throughout the military community, and was then compounded by the catalogue of administrative errors which led to months of financial turmoil. Brenda and her daughters were left with no money because her husband's Will had been lost. The MoD refused to accept responsibility. During these months she spoke out about the injustices and how families were treated post death in service. Her profile in speaking out led the DUP to ask her to stand for election in 2011 when she was successfully elected. She has since lobbied and campaigned robustly to have the Military Covenant UK wide and for the government to take full responsibility in looking after injured service personnel and bereaved families. She has a BSc (Hons) in Social Policy through the Open University and is Lagan Valley Member of the Legislative Assembly, Northern Ireland (Democratic Unionist Party).
Rachel Farmer is a newspaper journalist, magazine editor and communications professional with more than 25 years experience. Having worked as a feature writer and sub-editor, she is used to in depth interviewing and gathering information and also has a strong sense of what makes a good human interest story. Married to a chaplain in the British Army, she became friends with Brenda Hale in 1992 in Germany when their husbands served in the same regiment together on two operational tours - to Northern Ireland and Bosnia. In 1997 she became Director of Communications for the Church of England in Nottinghamshire until 2013, where she established a dynamic communications team. Rachel is now based near Portsmouth where her husband works with the Royal Artillery. She edits two quarterly magazines - one for the Worldwide Anglican Communion and one for the Armed Forces Christian Union, along with some freelance consultancy work. She also writes a blog on life as an army wife: firstname.lastname@example.org