When war hero Donald Briggs was invited to see the Queen unveil a memorial to his fallen colleagues, the Red Cross provided a wheelchair so he wouldn’t miss the big day.
During the Second World War, Donald served as a flight engineer in the notoriously dangerous Bomber Command. In a service where the average lifespan was just six weeks (55,700 out of 125,000 men were killed during the war), he completed 62 operations.
So when, after many years of campaigning by veterans, a Bomber Command memorial was finally unveiled in London by Queen Elizabeth II, Donald was determined to be there.
‘Happy to help’
But there was just one problem. As younger brother Malcolm recalled: “Don is now 88 years old and has myeloma, a type of bone cancer, so has difficulty in walking.”
And the pensioner had quite a trip to make – from Oxford to his brother’s home in Yateley and then on into the heart of bustling London.
Malcolm said: “I went to see the British Red Cross about loaning a wheelchair and explained what I needed it for – and they were happy to help.”
©InfoAnd so Don was able to enjoy his big day. Malcolm added: “The wheelchair proved absolutely invaluable to us. After we caught the train to Waterloo, Don was in the chair until a taxi took us to Green Park, then he was back in it again.
“There was quite a bit of wheeling around to do when we got there, since there were several thousand attendees at the memorial. And after the service, we used the chair so Don could go up close to the memorial and see it.”
Looking back, Malcolm said: “All in all, it was a very good day. That Red Cross wheelchair has helped a true hero.”
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