A BRITISH hero who served with the Royal Marine Commandos has helped to raise thousands of pounds for the Poppy Appeal.
Richard ‘Sam’ Jelbert served across the world for 21 years after joining in February 1960 when he earned his green beret.
In the years that followed Sam served with a number of different units across the world in areas including Malaya, Brunei and Borneo, as well as taking part in desert warfare in Yemen and Oman.
He also underwent a strenuous training period to become a ships diver and travelled to Bahrain.
He said: “It made life more interesting. It meant I could go on underwater searches for explosives and things. On the way back we heard there was trouble in Aden (Yemen) and we were called there.”
In his time with the marines he earned five medals for his service. These included honours for National General Service, Long Service and Good Conduct and came during posts to Brunei, Northern Ireland, Singapore and Borneo.
Asked of his proudest moment Sam recalled an act of bravery that saw him carry a wounded friend back to base when they were in Borneo.
He said: “I had to make sure he got back safely. You’re a section, you’re all friends, you help and are helped yourself. There is a strong element of comradeship. You rely on each other and you’re scared of making a mistake.”
Sam moved to Milton Keynes in 2000 and into the Lovat Fields Retirement Village 18 months ago.
In the last four years he has helped to raise funds for the Poppy Appeal and, known as the ‘money magnet’, has helped to raise more than £20,000, including a haul of £1,000 in one day this year.
He said: “I help out because I know that every penny is for a good cause. It’s for all of the servicemen who have served in wars throughout the years for our country. It’s also great meeting people and interacting with the public.
“I’m fortunate as I haven’t needed help. I still go to the gym for two hours a day and keep my body and my mind active. At 70 I’m probably in better health than people half my age so I’m very lucky. I’ve had a good life, but it’s been tough at times.”
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