A road crash, a destructive fire and sudden a heart attack: The story of a 'long, hard year' for a long-distance lorry driver from Scotland

  • Long-distance lorry driver Philippe was involved in a traffic accident in which his vehicle caught fire
  • As he was regularly on the road for months at a time, the majority of Philippe's belongings were in his lorry at the time
  • Philippe suffered a heart attack soon after the accident and doctors advised him not to risk driving again
  • A charity helped the driver to apply for grants to ease his financial worries

Written by Callum Patterson for DonateToday

PUBLISHED: 14:08, 6th Sep 2017 | UPDATED: 17:17, 26th Sep 2017

A Long, Hard Year

Philippe suffered a heart attack, not long after being in a road accident in his lorry

Just this time last year, Philippe was a long-distance lorry driver from the Highlands of Scotland. He earned a good wage from his job, but was regularly on the road for months at a time, carrying most of belongings with him in his vehicle.

So, when Philippe was involved in a traffic accident that caused his vehicle to catch fire, not only did he lose his livelihood, he also lost the majority of his clothes and belongings.

On top of this, Philippe then suffered a heart attack shortly after.

‘It’s been a long, hard year,’ says Philippe, speaking to the Turn2us website. Examining his financial situation from his home in a village in the Highlands after the accident, Philippe was dismayed to find that his Dutch employers would not pay him any compensation.

In fact, he was only entitled to £60 per week in benefits - despite having paid his UK taxes. 

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While friends and family were able to help with Philippe’s food costs, he was still forced to share food with another man in his village who was in a similar financial situation. 

Philippe was also worried about being put on an electricity meter, which he would not have been able to afford to pay money onto. Deflated, Philippe felt he had nowhere else to turn.

Philippe lost most of his belongings during the blaze

With the very real worry that he was going to have spend his benefits on keeping the electricity running, Philippe put his faith in charities in an attempt to ease the strain his situation was putting on his finances.

A number of organisations were able to provide Philippe with assistance: his local Citizen’s Advice bureau helped him with his personal injury compensation claim and recommended he use the Turn2us Grants Search service. 

Following this, BEN – a specialist charity for those who have worked in the automotive industry – awarded Philippe a grant of £600, and the Haulage Association awarded him a further £200.

"It has kept the lights going, kept me using the cooker, and that’s been fantastic."

- Philippe

Severe Hardship

Philippe has already recommended several others to get in touch with Turn2us to investigate whether their financial situations can be improved. 

‘It has kept the lights going,’ he says of the assistance he has received from the charity. ‘It has kept me using the cooker and that’s been fantastic. It’s the only help I’ve received.’

The money he received has helped Philippe pay his electricity bills, rather than being put on a meter, as well as paying for other essential items such as his TV licence - saving him from ‘severe hardship.’

Please note that names may have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved. Images are used for illustrative purposes only and, unless specified, persons included in images are posed models, not the persons mentioned in the article.