Stafford was born in Solihull and moved to Liverpool when he was four years old. He comes from a very affluent family – his great grandfather ran a very successful family business selling fish and both his parents were in the RAF – his father a spitfire pilot.
“I signed up as a reservist with the British Army when I was 17 and a half in 156 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps. Maybe my parents thought I would join the RAF but from a very young age, I had that much air force rammed down my throat, I decided to sign up for the Army.”
He started off as a driver and was commissioned at the age of 20. He eventually became a captain and his main job was a Transport Co-ordinating Officer (TCO) within a unit of 156.
His passion and hobby is horses and you would often see him down the local stables helping out. He secured a job with a private security firm looking after horses. At the time, Liverpool had 27 mounts and is one of only a few forces left that has still kept its mounts.
Stafford got married in 1984 and is still married but separated. His wife was referred to a psychiatrist for her mental health after losing her dad. She took prescribed mediation and at one point, was taking 30 tablets a day. She found it difficult to cope with the pain and even tried to commit suicide. She had to take early retirement and needed care.
Following a domestic incident, Stafford was arrested and charged with assault. He was fined, found himself on probation with a banning order preventing him from going back to his own home. He sofa surfed for a few months with family and friends until he ended up in a Salvation Army hostel. He had no where to go.
“I was doing voluntary work with blind people, helping them and through that, I met an ex-soldier who was living at Launchpad’s Speke House. I contacted them to find out if I would be eligible to live there and thankfully, a flat was available. I moved into the house in 2015.
“I am very grateful to Launchpad and the staff are excellent. If it wasn’t for Launchpad, heaven knows where I’d be. I’ve lived here for a few years now and still can’t go back home. I know I can look after myself and I may even move on to live in another home but I don’t where I could go. When I’m here, I feel safe. This is my home now.”
Stafford, 75 enjoys keeping fit by cycling and regularly cycles 25 miles every Saturday volunteering as a cycle leader as part of the Walk and Cycle for Health Liverpool initiative. Getting outdoors and meeting new people is something he really enjoys.