Afghanistan raising funds for RBL

PUBLISHED: 14:26 14 November 2009 | UPDATED: 12:19 10 June 2010

A BOOK by a Budleigh Salterton author continues to raise funds for the Royal British Legion - almost 15 years after it was first printed.

A BOOK by a Budleigh Salterton author continues to raise funds for the Royal British Legion - almost 15 years after it was first printed.

A successful reprint last year of Oundle's War by Michael Downes, an ex-teacher who moved to East Devon last year, tells the story of a Northamptonshire town's contribution during World War Two, raised over £500 for the charity.

When the book was first printed in 1995 it sold out within six weeks and raised more than £7,000 for the Royal British Legion, all the profits after publishing costs.

Now the 321-page hardback book is being reprinted for the third time, appealing not only to local residents and former pupils of its famous public school but also to ex-USAAF personnel stationed in the Oundle area between 1942 and 1945.

Hollywood star Clark Gable who was based at an airfield just outside the town is one of the many servicemen whose story is told in the book.

With its veterans' personal memories and more than 150 illustrations recalling the wartime era, the book was praised for its assiduous research and won for its author, Michael Downes, the Leslie Black trophy, awarded by the Legion's local branch.

"I am really pleased that the book is continuing to raise funds for the Legion. Living quite close to the Royal Marines' base at Lympstone and within earshot of their firing range at Sandy Bay, I often think of what our forces and their families are going through as a result of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Michael, who taught at Oundle School for over 30 years, and retired to live in Budleigh Salterton in March last year.

Two years ago, Michael was saddened to hear of the death in Afghanistan of one of the former pupils at the school where he used to teach.

Captain David Hicks was posthumously awarded the Military Cross for exemplary gallantry in the field following an engagement in August 2007 when he and his men came under attack.

"The tragic death of David Hicks was as sad and inspiring as any of the sacrifices that I wrote about in Oundle's War," said Michael.

For more information e-mail bookshop@oundleschool.org.uk

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