WATCH: Old soldier from Sussex buys replacement medals for blind 96-year-old D-Day veteran
A blind D-Day veteran has received a set of replacement medals after his own went missing at a motorway service station - thanks to a former soldier from West Sussex.
Alfred Barlow, 96, was returning home last month from a pilgrimage to Normandy when the medals were lost.
His wife Masie and his grandson noticed they were missing after he visited the gents at Norton Canes services near Walsall on the M6 Toll on June 8.
Crimestoppers has offered £5,000 and actor Hugh Grant an additional £1,000 to reunite Mr Barlow with the 1939-1945 Star, the France & Germany Star, the 1939-1945 War Medal and the Palestine Medal.
But yesterday, he was presented with replacements by Alan Walker, 58, a fellow blind veteran from Hassocks, West Sussex, who was so moved by reading his story that he went out and bought four more medals from a specialist dealer.
Speaking at a ceremony organised by Blind Veterans UK at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, Mr Barlow, from Stockport, said: "Today has been overwhelming and I never expected all this fuss."
He said: "I am so grateful to all the people who have been kind to me and who have been to see me.
"People who don't know me from Adam and yet they've been to see me in my home, I am very grateful to them."
Mr Barlow, who served with 3rd (Royal Northumberland Fusiliers) Reconnaissance Regiment, and landed on Sword Beach at 10am on D-Day, June 6, 1944, said he was "bitterly disappointed" when he realised the medals were missing.
"I've got some replacements now. It's not quite the same, but nevertheless I have got some medals that I have earned.
"And that's the annoying part. I earned those medals during the war for my part on D-Day, going through Europe and chasing the Germans back into Germany."
Mr Barlow, who started receiving support from Blind Veterans UK after losing his sight through macular degeneration, said that he had lost hope of finding the original medals.
He added: "I have had offers of medals from other people's fathers.
"One in particular came from Stockport and he offered me his father's medals.
"That's fantastic. But I wouldn't want a son of mine giving my medals away just like that."
Nick Caplin, chief executive of Blind Veterans UK, said: "People across the country have been in touch with us, wanting to offer support to try and help Alfred to find his medals again or indeed find replacements.
"Just looking at Alfred's face when he had his medals on his chest again and just talking to Alfred about how much his medals mean to him, is so meaningful."
Anyone with information about the lost medals is being asked to call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, or the Blind Veterans UK hotline on 0800 389 7979.