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Last Updated: Friday, 16 May, 2003, 07:20 GMT 08:20 UK
Gulf veterans eye Lotto cash
Veterans believe vaccinations made them ill

A group which represents hundreds of Gulf War veterans could receive 300,000 from the National Lottery.

The National Gulf Veterans and Families Association hopes the award will be seen as official support for their campaign to prove that "Gulf War syndrome" does exist.

The MoD denies there is any evidence linking the illness with military service.

Our concern is not with any issues they have with the MoD
Gerald Oppenheim
Community Fund

Nick Burke, spokesman for the Community Fund, which distributes lottery money to good causes, said he was optimistic the 1991 Gulf War veterans would receive a "large strategic grant".

Gerald Oppenheim, the fund's director of policy and communications, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "What we are trying to do through talking to them is to help them prepare an application to help them deliver services for the people that they work with - both the soldiers, ex-servicemen and their families.

"Our concern is not with any issues they have with the MoD."

Vaccinations link

The cash will help to finance a resource centre, which alone would cost "a six-figure sum".

Since the fund began giving grants in 1995, more than 300m has been given to war veterans' organisations, Mr Oppenheim added.

Major Christine Lloyd
Major Christine Lloyd is trying to secure a disability pension

Earlier this month, a tribunal ruled Strathclyde serviceman Alex Izett brittle bone diseases could be linked to the cocktail of vaccinations he was given.

Now veterans say they are feeling more optimistic about claims for compensation and disability pensions.

Mr Izett - who served with the Royal Engineers - was never actually sent to the conflict but developed unexpected illness in the same way as many veterans.

For people like nursing officer Major Christine Lloyd, who lives in Cornwall, the news brings fresh hope.

She returned from the Gulf in 1991 with a mystery illness which cost her job, her home and, ultimately, her health.

Maj Lloyd has always believed her illness was caused by the vaccinations she took before her tour of duty began.

She is hoping to secure a disability pension worth 16,000 a year.

But the government's position remains unclear.

Veterans welcome illness ruling
05 May 03  |  Cornwall

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