Simon Moloney was a lance corporal in the Household Cavalry when he was shot through the neck by a Taliban sniper while fighting in Afghanistan. For 10 minutes, he thought he was going to die until a medic patched him up. Astonishingly, he continued fighting for another hour and a half and in doing so saved the lives of other members of his unit. He was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross for his bravery. Only 59 have been awarded.
But Moloney, 27, is putting the medal and others up for auction next month, in the hope that he can raise the funds for a deposit to buy a house in his home town of St Albans. The estimated price is £80-£100,000. “The money I hope to raise is life-changing for someone in my position and I will use it to get on the property ladder. I am incredibly proud of my medals and what they represent. It has been a big decision to sell them but also a logical one,” he told the Times.
The fact that a decorated war hero cannot afford to get on the property ladder in his home town without selling the medal he earned in battle is surely one of the most depressing indications of what a mess the whole fiasco of buying a home has become, in a seemingly neverending series of depressing indications of that mess.
According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, over the past 20 years, average house prices have grown about seven times faster than the average incomes of young adults; scraping together a deposit under those conditions for people not fortunate enough to have family assistance is practically impossible. Moloney’s measured justification for how he’s going to do it is certainly a meaty riposte to those who argue that cutting down on lattes and avocado toast is all it takes to pick up those keys.
• Rebecca Nicholson is an Observer columnistwww.theguardian.com