A beacon of hope

After the death of her husband, a phone call out of the blue to Sally Longley was a moment of much needed light. Her story reveals how insurance provides far more than money.

Protecting his family was extremely important to GP Jeffrey Longley. When his oldest son, David, was struggling at school due to his dyslexia, he and his wife Sally, took the decision to move him out of the state system to St Johns on the Hill school, where he could receive more dedicated support. They saw their son begin to flourish, so when it was time for their other children, Richard and Anna to go to school, it only seemed right and fair to send them to independent school too.  This was a huge sacrifice for the family; all their spare money went on the children’s education, but it was one they were happy to make as they could see what a difference it was making. After St Johns on the Hill, David and Richard attended Monmouth Boys School and Anna went to Haberdashers Monmouth School for Girls.

When Jeffrey was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle, in 2015, he chose to protect his wife and children from the seriousness of his condition. Sadly, he died in October of that year. This was the second tragedy to hit the family. Their eldest son David had been killed in a car accident when he was just 16 years old. This was an extremely dark time for the family, especially for the youngest member Anna. She had been battling glandular fever in the year before her father died and to lose another close family member by the age of 20 was devastating for her, as it was for Sally and Richard.

At this terrible time, Jeffrey’s instincts to protect his family were revealed again. Unbeknownst to them, he had taken out a School Fees Insurance policy with SFS Group, which he converted in to a University Fees Insurance policy when the children moved on to higher education. This cover ensured the children’s fees would be paid if he were to die or suffer a serious illness. “I’m not sure what prompted Jeffrey to take out the policy,” says Sally. “But I think what happened to David made him realise how fragile and precious life is. Richard was 14 and Anna just 8 at the time. It strengthened his instincts to protect his family, if anything should happen to him.”

By the time Jeffrey died, Richard had finished his education and begun a career in the Royal Marines. Anna, however, was in her second year of a BSc in Nutrition, Exercise and Health at the University of Plymouth. The University Fees Insurance policy paid for her remaining tuition fees. “Without this very welcome surprise, I think Anna may have given up on her studies,” says Sally. “It was just the spur she needed to help her complete her degree. While the money was of course very useful, I think the most important thing for Anna was to know that this was a final gift from her father. Her education had meant so much to him that he’d taken out this policy. She felt she owed it to him to finish the job.”

Anna followed up her first degree with a postgraduate diploma (PgDip) in Global and Remote Healthcare and has just begun a second degree in medicine at the University of Exeter, following in her father’s footsteps, which Sally is immensely proud of. “At the worst time in my life, the call from SFS Group about our unexpected insurance claim was like a beacon of hope. It was one of the few positive things to come out of that period and I can’t thank Jeffrey enough for his foresight. For a relatively small amount of money, it gave our family a lift when we needed it the most.”

About the author

Clare Cave

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