Archive for March, 1996

My HQ ARRC Families Bulletin article highlighting the plight of Bosnian children. Please read on…

Posted in Uncategorized on March 30, 1996 by vic


by WO2(SQMS) Vic Ferguson AGC (SPS)

When I first met Hurmija Mujic in the Kosevo hospital in Sarajevo, she was sitting in her wheelchair, her face deadened with a combination of grief, loss and boredom.

Since that day in November 1995 I have forged an unusual bond with Hurmija and her family and have dedicated all of my spare time to helping her and other child victims of the war.  I have also recruited the help of many other soldiers and their families who have listened to my plea for help.

Hurmija was injured during the atrocities in Srebrenica, she avoided death – but she has good reason to envy the dead.  Since October 1994 when a piece of shrapnel severed her spinal cord she has been paralysed from the waist down.  She was evacuated to Sarajevo in November 1994.

Unable to control her bladder, she sat in soiled bedclothes in Sarajevo’s underfunded hospital for 18 months, missing her father and her two eldest brothers who were defending Srebrenica when it fell.  They are almost certainly lying in mass graves, victims of the massacre which took place there last July.

She had a completely lifeless expression, spoke only in monosyllables and never once looked me in the eye when I tried to talk to her.  The room stank.  That night I cried myself to sleep.


Since our depressing first meeting I have visited the hospital almost every night in an attempt to brighten up this sad little girl’s life.  On occasion, Hurmija has seemed almost to forget her burden and we have had great fun; sadly these events are few and far between and only last for a short while.

By the end of December 1995 I had been handed more than DM 4,000 by individual officers and soldiers who had heard Hurmija’s story and felt that they wanted to help.  These donations were completely unsolicited.  In January 1996 Petty Officer Phil Ball persuaded me that I should seek the support of the National press to publicise an appeal for funds to help Hurmija.  On the 15th January the Sun Newspaper in the UK first published an appeal.  This led to many offers of help and donations of cash, the fund raising had begun in earnest.  The Sun article was followed up by many other articles and TV/radio broadcasts in the international media.  By spreading the story of the child victims of the Balkans war an increased public awareness was achieved and more offers of help came flooding in together with  more donations.  I realise that there are many people in need of help at home but in life I feel that you must help wherever you can.

By mid-February Child Advocacy International, a UK-based charity, had been successful in securing a place for Hurmija in the Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt Spinal Unit in Oswestry.  The next three weeks were full of problems to be solved.  Transport, hotels, flights, visas specialist medical equipment and interpreters  to name but a few.

Professor David Southall, a senior paediatrician from Keele University, and founder of Child Advocacy International, flew out to Bosnia personally to assist in the evacuation.  To add to our difficulties, we were to take three more sick children and some family members from Tuzla, Mostar and Sarajevo to hospitals in Oswestry, Birmingham, London and Liverpool.  Each child suffering from serious but differing illnesses such as heart disease, intractable epilepsy and paralysis with ages ranging from 16 months to 14 years.  In all, we moved 17 Bosnian and Croatian nationals during the evacuation.

The trip took four days of travelling, a real worry because Adnan, a 16 month old boy, was so frail we were concerned that he would not survive the trip.  We left the Kosevo hospital in Sarajevo on Sunday 17 March 1996, just two months after the fund-raising began in earnest.  A great achievement that would not have been possible but for the outstanding generosity of the British public.

Our arrival at London Heathrow airport was covered by the international press.  This assisted further in raising public awareness of the plight of so many helpless children in Bosnia; the innocent victims of this senseless war.  After meeting Mr Tony Williamson, the Chairman of Lions Clubs International and talking to him about our struggle to raise funds at the airport the ‘Lions’ decided to donate a further £ 25,000.  This money will be used to evacuate a further two children, Muhamed Kovac, a 10 year old boy from Gorazde suffering from heart disease and Lejla Valjevcic, an 11 year old girl from Sarajevo who has a tracheostomy tube fitted in her throat that needs urgent attention after failed treatment  here in Sarajevo has resulted twice in respiratory arrests.  She would die without treatment.

The fund-raising and hospital visits will continue, as long as duty permits.  This work is so important and rewarding that it is almost like a drug; you get hooked!  My thanks go to everyone who has contributed in any way to this appeal, we would have been unable to assist these desperate children without your generosity.

Anyone reading this article who feels that they can help in any way should contact:

WO2(SQMS) Vic Ferguson

Coalition Press Information Centre Sarajevo

Holiday Inn

British Forces Post Office 543

Tel:  (00387) 71 417617

Fax:  (00387) 71 417600


Donations can be direct to:

TSB England & Wales

58 Station Road




Bank Sort Code:  771407

Account Number:  19180060




Humanitarian aid delivered to the 540 children of Os Nafija Saraljic school Sarajevo and Vrtic Vrapcic Kindergarten.

Posted in Uncategorized on March 26, 1996 by vic

Sejla Sofovic looks at Vic with an endearing beauty.

Victims of genocide in Srebrenica evacuated from war-torn Bosnia… A proud day for Leeds born soldier.

Posted in Uncategorized on March 19, 1996 by vic

Mission accomplished as Hurmija arrives safely in British soil with Mama, Mersija (her twin sister) and Ramija… my 3 little Bosanska Princezas x

Photo by PO Phil Ball without whom none of what we have achieved would have been possible.  Cheers Phil.

The Hope for Hurmija Appeal gains more support… join us and make the difference between life and death.

Posted in Uncategorized on March 14, 1996 by vic

From:  WO2(SQMS) V A Ferguson


Superintending Clerk

Coalition Press Information Centre

Holiday Inn, Sarajevo

British Forces Post Office 543

Tel:  (00387) 71 447-617

Fax:  (00387) 71 447-600

Miss H Norfolk

14 Skelton Terrace


LS9 9ES                                                             March 1996



Thank you for your letter of 6 March 1996.  Your interest in helping me to help the many unfortunate children, most of whom are victims of a terrible war in one way or another is very much appreciated.

I am enclosing a selection of press cuttings from my campaign to bring Hurmija Mujic to Britain for treatment which will give you an idea of how I have been filling what little spare time I have had during the past 4 months.

I am pleased to inform you that I am, in fact, bringing Hurmija, with her mother, twin sister and younger sister to England on Tue 19 March 1996.  She will be treated in Oswestry orthopaedic and spinal clinic in Shropshire.

There are many others here who need help, particularly in the light of the UNHCR’s decision recently to cease the evacuation of children from Bosnia now that the war is over.  Unfortunately, the suffering is not over.  The hospitals here are not well equipped enough to deal effectively with many illnesses.  I am, for instance, now trying to help three other young boys.  One is 5, one is 8 (both have different forms of Leukaemia and have almost no chance of survival here in Sarajevo.  They would have approximately an 80% chance of remission if treated in the UK.  Another is 10 and has a blockage of the main valve in the heart.  He has gone from being an apparently fit and healthy young boy to a ‘Cardiac Cripple’.

I am now assisted by a Charity called Child Advocacy International.  They are currently the only UK charity evacuating children from the former Yugoslavia.  Unfortunately their funds have almost run out and the five children that we bring to Heathrow on Tuesday are likely to be the last until funds are forthcoming.  The staff have been working without pay since 31 January 1996.

I do not utilise any moneys raised by myself for personal expenses and the like.  Every penny is spent directly on the treatment and well being of the children.

The Registered Charity Number of Child Advocacy is 1048781.  My account is at TSB, 58, Station Road, Crossgates, LEEDS, LS15 7YJ.  The account title is:  V A FERGUSON Hope for Hurmija Appeal.  The account number is 19180060 and the bank’s sort code is 771407.

I hope that you decide to help me.  There are so many other wonderful children that deserve to be given the chance of a life after their terrible suffering for the past three and a half years.

Forget the war… let’s play footie!!

Posted in Uncategorized on March 11, 1996 by vic

great memories of playing football with the local kids of Mostar (Bosnia-Hercegovina) en-route to the UK with Hurmija Mujic and the first group of children we (Kids in Desperate Situations (KIDS)) sponsored for MEDEVAC with the help of Professor David Southall and Dr Michael Plunkett of Child Advocacy International.

Right foreground of pic:  me in a “spot the ball” audition pose mid-air!


Forget the war… let’s play footie!

Posted in Uncategorized on March 10, 1996 by vic

r foreground: Vic Ferguson demonstrates the “spot the ball” shuffle.

final score:  NATO Troops 5, Local Bosnian kids 8

Posted in Uncategorized on March 10, 1996 by vic

Mejra Mujic kisses her sister Hurmija goodbye as we leave Kosevo hospital, Sarajevo for the United Kingdom.

L foreground:  Ramija Mujic

L background:  Mersija Mujic (Hurmija’s twin sister)

R foreground: Vic Ferguson (me).