Sidmouth's Wally backs Help for Heroes

WHEN ex-squaddie Wally Cotgrave had his chance to stand on the fourth plinth at Trafalgar Square for an hour this year, he tried to promote the charity Help for Heroes.

WHEN ex-squaddie Wally Cotgrave had his chance to stand on the fourth plinth at Trafalgar Square for an hour this year, he tried to promote the charity Help for Heroes.

Inspired by seeing people line the streets of Wootton Bassett "far too often" when fallen soldiers were repatriated, Wally, who was in the tank regiment in North Africa, wanted to promote the charity while on the plinth.

With Remembrance Day this week, Wally, 71, from Winslade Road, has been distributing Help for Heroes collection boxes around the town's stores for people to put in their small change.

He said: "I got 24 in, which reflects well on the town because I hardly got a refusal."

Wally remembers how, during his time on the plinth, a young pregnant woman wanted to throw money to him but was stopped by security guards.

He said: "I saw her later and her boyfriend was crying. They gave about �1.50 and she said it was the first time they had ever put anything in a collecting tin.

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"When I was a squaddie I remember how upset I was, but no-one was trying to kill me, except on a Friday in the NAFFI.

"You have got to be tough to be away from family and children and my heart goes out to our soldiers. I think it is an awful dilemma for them to be in.

"Given the context of the war in Afghanistan it doesn't feel like a real war."

* If you would like a Help for Heroes collecting box to take donations please contact Wally on (01395) 578010.

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