AT NINE years old Jayjay Davey won the hearts of readers of The News with a request for people to help him send parcels of treats to soldiers in Iraq.
Because he had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and struggled with reading and writing, he thought he’d never realise his dream of joining the army – so sending the parcels was the next best thing.
Almost a decade later, having sent hundreds of care packages to troops around the world, 18-year-old Jayjay, of West Street, Havant, has overcome his difficulties.
And this summer he will join the Royal Signals regiment.
With the determination which characterises British troops, Jayjay is hoping to stand shoulder to shoulder with the soldiers his family has been helping all these years.
He said: ‘My grandad was in the military and I’ve always wanted to follow in his footsteps but because I had ADHD I thought I’d be held back.
‘I was on the drug Ritalin and five years ago I came off it which was rough but I got through it with the support of my family. I’m also dyslexic and found it really difficult to engage. My teachers even said I’d probably never sit my GCSEs but I actually got a B in English, a B in science, a C in maths and an A in IT.
‘And I won the award for Best Recruit on my Uniformed Services course at South Downs College. I’ve dreamed of being in the army and being supported by everyone in the country.
‘I like the uniformity and discipline of the services.
‘Of course I’m a bit cautious but at the end of the day I’m a soldier first and it’s my job.’
Jayjay will put his IT skills to good use installing CCTV and keeping the army wirelessly connected.
His mum Pauline, a 42-year-old voluntary worker, could not hide her delight.
She said: ‘I’m so proud of him I can hardly put it into words. He had so many difficulties growing up and he’s had to work really hard to overcome them.
‘Jayjay has taken one step at a time and achieved his dream,
‘What parent could want for more than their children to be happy?
‘I have two boys at very different ends of the spectrum. My older son has a masters degree and is very academic but they have both achieved so much and I’m so proud.’
Jayjay said even though he may not be at home this Christmas his family will continue to send treats to troops on his behalf.
‘I’m sure my mum will carry it on and probably send more parcels than ever this year,’ he said.