Forces charity gets boost thanks to the Red Arrows

FUNDRAISER Help for Heroes volunteer Malcolm Garbutt with the signed Red Arrows print.  Picture: Sarah Standing (121344-8779)
FUNDRAISER Help for Heroes volunteer Malcolm Garbutt with the signed Red Arrows print. Picture: Sarah Standing (121344-8779)
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CHAMPION fundraiser Malcolm Garbutt has made even more cash for injured forces thanks to a poignant piece of memorabilia from the Red Arrows.

In the 18 months Malcolm has manned the Help for Heroes stall in the Meridian Centre, Havant, he has collected £33,000 for the charity.

Just over £320 of that came from a limited edition lithograph of the Red Arrows in their 2011 formation.

The picture is signed by each of the pilots in the team – including Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging who died when his Hawk crashed at the Bournemouth Air Show in August last year.

It was sent to Malcolm by the RAF who wished him the best of luck with his fundraising.

Mr Garbutt, 63, from Seafront, Hayling, said: ‘When I realised it included Flt Lt Egging’s signature it was a very sad moment. But I hope he would be happy to know that the money raised from this print is going to a very worthwhile cause.

‘I have raised a lot of money, yes, but that’s down to the people of Havant who are so generous and their fondness for this charity never diminishes.

‘The reason they are so generous is because they are angry at the lack of support our troops get from the government.’

The raffle for the print, which is number 205 of 500, was won by 73-year-old John Mockett, from Hayling.

The great-grandfather was delighted with it – and said it would hang on his bedroom wall.

‘It came as a complete surprise when Mr Garbutt rang up to say I’d won. I couldn’t find my ticket at first,’ he said.

‘It’s a very nice picture. I’ve seen the Red Arrows several times because I used to live near Brize Norton and they would train down there sometimes.

‘Help for Heroes is a very worthwhile charity and I always put my spare change in the bucket.

‘I was in the navy and in my day each service had their own dedicated hospitals but they’ve all been taken over now.’

Great-grandfather Mr Garbutt started selling the charity’s merchandise early last year after feeling he must do something to help injured war heroes.

He buys the merchandise himself and sells it at a stall in the shopping centre on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and Rob Fryer, the centre manager, gives him his stall spot for free. It’s the only charity the centre supports in this way.

He sells wristbands, tea towels, key rings and even chocolate and aims to raise £50,000 by the end of the year.

Last year, he was praised by Bryn Parry, the founder of Help for Heroes.