Dave’s army days are done but he’s still happy to serve
LEGION CHAIRMAN UP FOR AWARD
ARMY veteran David Thomas served his country for 24 years and even though he is now on loan to civvy street, he has never stopped supporting the armed forces.
The Bestwood Village resident (pictured), who served with the Royal Regiment of Artillery is, up for a Nottingham Post Heroes Award in the Armed Forces category.
The 59-year-old joined the army as a boy soldier in 1976 straight from school and was first posted to Germany in 1977. He has also served in Northern Ireland, Canada, Kosovo and Kuwait during the First Gulf War, where he commanded a gun detachment.
In 2000, he left the army, returned to his home town of Nottingham and went on to become secretary of the Royal Artillery Association, which meets monthly. He is also the Midlands region representative on the Royal Artillery Association’s national executive committee.
As well as working as a waste and recycling officer for Rushcliffe Borough Council, he has recently taken over as chairman of the Royal British Legion branch in West Bridgford, and has been busy working on the 2018 Poppy Appeal.
He said: “The legion needed a bit of a revival during this centenary year, with a big push for new members at branch level, which are its lifeblood, to keep the very important work of this fantastic charity going.”
Mr Thomas also set up the Armed Forces & Veterans’ Breakfast Club in the Nottingham and Rushcliffe area and it recently celebrated its first anniversary.
“Nottingham didn’t have [a breakfast club] so it was the right thing to do,” he said.
“It is there for anyone who wants to come along, pull up a sandbag, chat and enjoy the banter. It also serves the purpose of signposting veterans to organisations which can provide support should it be needed.
“You can serve 15, 20 years and even if you haven’t spoken to or seen an old comrade in a while, when you meet up the understanding is still there. It’s like you’ve never been apart.”
Reacting to his nomination, he said: “I’m so surprised but it’s nice to be recognised. Thank you to whoever nominated me. It’s just about looking after other people.”
Ralph Bromhead met Mr Thomas at Ride To The Wall, a yearly motorcycle ride for current and ex-armed forces as well as other bikers, to the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, Staffordshire.
The 60-year-old from Nuthall said: “He’s a quiet bloke, doesn’t shout from the rooftops. But he does so much without being asked.”
Mr Bromhead said that Mr Thomas voluntarily organised many other events and trips.
“He took a group to the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres, in Belgium, and he organises a pilgrimage to the National Memorial Arboretum every year. He’s spent a lifetime serving his country, putting himself at risk and he is still doing so much to help the forces.”