MOVED by images of injured soldiers returning home from Afghanistan, Malcolm Garbutt decided to do something to help.
The 66-year-old offered his services to Help for Heroes and began selling the charity’s merchandise from a stall in the Meridian Centre, Havant. And now, four years on, the disabled pensioner, from Waterlooville, has raised a staggering £100,000.
He is retiring today knowing he has made a huge impact on the lives of servicemen and women injured in conflict.
Mr Garbutt said: ‘I have a crumbling spine and I do struggle with my back a lot of the time.
‘I’m in pain standing on the stall but I count myself lucky as there are a lot more people a lot worse off than me.
‘I’ve seen first-hand the difference Help for Heroes has made to people’s lives, and the way those people injured in conflict continue to help themselves.
‘Since I began in 2009, our forces have pulled out of Afghanistan but the fight for recovery for many of them goes on.
‘That’s why, after I raised £50,000, I decided to keep going to £100,000.
‘The people of Havant have been so generous.
‘And I couldn’t have done it without the help of all the staff at the Meridian Centre.’
Mr Garbutt, a former firefighter, said one of the highlights has been talking to the ‘old boys’ about their military careers.
Rob Fryer, manager of the Meridian Centre, said: ‘Malcolm has become a key part of the Meridian centre and its atmosphere over the past few years.
‘I can say from us all that we will really miss him.
‘I know along the way he has made many a friend through both our customers and centre staff who enjoy the friendly informal conversations.’
‘To us here he has become a real hero and we applaud his commitment raising a fantastic amount for the H4H charity.’
Judith Finch, volunteer county co-ordinator for the charity, said: ‘Help for Heroes is extremely grateful to Malcolm for all the time and effort he has given over the last four years to raise such an incredible amount of money.
‘This will go a long way to making a significant difference to our wounded, injured and sick whose personal battles will continue for many years to come.’