At the beginning of 1948 the young war hero Leonard Cheshire found himself living alone in a Victorian mansion called Le Court deep in the Hampshire countryside.
He had bought the old house from an aunt two years earlier to house a community for ex-service colleagues but the project had not worked out and he was selling off some of the estate to meet the community’s debts. He was diverted from this depressing task by a plea for help to find a home for a former member of the community who was terminally ill and had nowhere to go.
He offered to look after the man himself, found others in need coming to him for help, and so started the network of support services for disabled people which was to spread like wildfire across the globe in his name. Le Court remained the charity’s flagship service for almost 60 years.