WATCHING the return of wounded soldiers on the news, Malcolm Garbutt felt angry and frustrated that he was unable to do anything to help them.
So the disabled great-grandfather took matters into his own hands and began selling Help for Heroes merchandise at the Meridian Centre in Havant.
And in just over a year Mr Garbutt has raised £21,000 selling badges, wristbands, bags, books and teddy bears on his stall three days a week.
He said: ‘I saw those poor boys coming back with all their limbs blown off and faces burnt and I thought, poor devils.
‘I’d heard about Help for Heroes and I thought I’d have a go at raising a few quid.
‘I bought a few odd bits and pieces and it’s become very popular with the public. I gradually built it up to what it is today but it’s thanks to the public, not me.
‘They are 100 per cent behind the troops – I just stand there taking their money. And The Meridian Centre staff are fantastic. I’m not going to stop until I physically can’t do it any more.
‘My dream is to have raised £50,000 by the end of next year.’
Mr Garbutt even presents the wrist bands in a presentation box to make them more attractive.
And he has received a certificate from the charity for his hard work.
The 63-year-old, of Reading House, Hayling Island, is a former firefighter but suffers from a crumbling spine and arthritis so had to retire early.
His wife Susan, 65, said: ‘It’s absolutely wonderful of him to do this.
‘We have a grandson of 21 who was going to join the forces but luckily he changed his mind.
‘I can’t imagine what the families of those troops who are injured or killed go through.’
Bryn Parry, Help for Heroes founder, said: ‘Help for Heroes is all about doing your bit and Malcolm is a wonderful example of someone having a good idea, rallying support and having a great deal of fun while they raise money for a wonderful cause.’
The stall is run on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
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