A catalogue of tragic events left Sue Starling in despair but intervention from the grocery industry benevolent fund Caravan has given her hope. Caravan provides help and support to more than 1,300 former grocery workers and their families who have fallen on hard times.

One such beneficiary is 55-year-old Sue. Her husband Victor worked for household goods manufacturer Reckitt and Colman, having joined the Hull-based company as a van boy in his teens, and worked his way up to the role of warehouse supervisor. Sadly cancer was diagnosed in 2004 and he died just three weeks later.

Sue's mother passed away shortly after, and just a few months later Sue was involved in a horrific car crash and sustained life-threatening injuries. Her spine was crushed and nerves were so badly damaged that she lost a great deal of mobility and became housebound.

Life was to dish out yet more hardship on Sue. "I developed gallstones, and during the surgery to have them treated the surgeon cut my pancreas, leaving me with even more complications," she said.

Sue now suffers from chronic pancreatitis - an illness that causes her intense pain and discomfort. In November 2004, Sue's social worker introduced her to Caravan. "It was like a ray of sunshine had come out," she said. "I just couldn't believe there were people out there who recognised how hard my husband had worked, and wanted to help me, too."

Over the years, Caravan has provided Sue with an electric scooter to improve her mobility, made exterior renovations to her property, bought her a special bed, and helped towards the cost of a shed in which she keeps her scooter. The charity also sends her a regular sum of money, which she puts towards electricity bills.

"It was absolutely amazing. All of a sudden there were people calling me up and coming to visit. Caravan has transformed me from a woman who didn't care about life any more to one who has hope again."

Caravan relies on people in the grocery industry to raise money to fund its work. It's fundraising events such as The Windermere Row next May - a gruelling 10-and-a-half mile row from end-to-end of Lake Windermere - that helps Caravan help people like Sue.