Historic medals help today’s war casualties

Lyme Regis man sells family heirlooms to raise money for Help for Heroes - and urges others to do the same

Historic medals awarded to two brave soldiers in Queen Victoria’s reign have been sold to help victims of modern-day conflicts.

The family heirlooms were auctioned by their Lyme Regis owner to raise money for Help for Heroes.

Now Peter Lacey, a retired district youth worker for the Axe Valley, is urging others to follow his example.

He wants people to search out old military honours given to distant relatives and cash them in to help today’s service personnel – instead of allowing them to gather dust in drawers.

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Mr Lacey raised �500 from the sale of the Rifle Brigade Victorian Campaign medals which belonged to his father’s uncles, Privates W and J R Spickett.

He explained: “My father’s mother having died he was brought up in the Spickett family and on his death the medals passed to me, some 30 years ago.

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“Having discussed the matter with my wife, Barbara, we decided to sell the medals at auction and donate the money to Help for Heroes.

“We both felt that the Spicket brothers would have approved of the �500 raised going to aid present-day servicemen. “Although the brothers are long dead their legacy is from the past to the present. The fact that one medal carried a Northwest Frontier Bar – today’s Afghanistan – makes it even more poignant.

“We both hope that this example will encourage other families who have medals awarded to distant relatives to sell them and, in so doing, benefit those members of the armed forces wounded in recent conflicts.”

Help for Heroes local co-ordinator Jill Gardner received the cheque from the Laceys at Lyme Regis war memorial last week.

She said: “I just want to say a very big thank you to Peter and his family for raising this wonderful donation for the charity and how extra special it is because the money was raised by selling medals, including the Afghanistan one.

“The money we are raising at the moment is going to help set up a series of regional recovery centres – a one stop for injured personnel.”

Added Mr Lacey: “If the medals had been mine I would obviously have kept them with pride but these were distant relatives that I never knew. They served their country well and now the medals can help those who serve their country today. I am sure if they are looking down they would approve.”

He added they were grateful to Duke’s of Dorchester, who sold the medals, for very kindly waiving their auction fee.

** The honours sold included three Victorian campaign medals including an Indian General Service Medal awarded to Pte W Spickett, 3rd Battalion Rifle Brigade with North West Frontier Bar, a Queen’s South Africa Medal awarded to Pte J R Spickett, Rifle Brigade with Belfast and Laing’s Nek bars and an unnamed Khedives Medal and a Rifle Corps greetings card.

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