A British Army veteran has published a book of poetry written by veterans, serving personnel and their families to raise money for charity.
Gina Allsop, 45, a Royal Signals veteran from Brighton, will donate profits from her book titled Military Memories to a number of military charities, including the SSAFA armed forces charity, who supported her through a “hard time”.
The book contains poems from thirty poets with military connections and even includes contributions from ITV presenter Lorraine Kelly and radio presenter Joe Carden.
Ms Allsop said: “The poems illustrate the journey taken by those who join the Armed Forces, showing a lighter side to our families’ lives and the trauma we sometimes face.
“A path taken by many, told by so few. It’s a lifetime of memories shared in one little book.”
Last year, Ms Allsop had been cycling through Liverpool when she was knocked over in a hit-and-run incident which left her in A&E, with her bike destroyed.
Her cycling had been a “coping mechanism” whilst caring for her terminally-ill brother Spencer, who died of cancer the day after her crash.
“You feel kind of helpless when you lose a family member, and my escape was cycling on a bike,” she said.
“When I didn’t have it for those few weeks I felt like my legs had been chopped off, I didn’t have an outlet.”
The SSAFA supported Ms Allsop after the accident and sourced funding to provide her with a new bike.
Since then, Ms Allsop has completed a fundraising cycling challenge where she raised more than £10,000 to set up an art therapy class for a cancer charity and is now launching her poetry book to help members of the Armed Forces community.
The poetry book was also inspired by her brother’s funeral last year that was livestreamed online after Covid restrictions meant only 10 people could attend.
“My poem was heard by a cancer hospice and they asked me to record my poem for other virtual funerals so it could be played for them,” Ms Allsop said.
“That inspired me to create this poetry book and allow more people to read the work of others.”