A COMBAT pilot who flew a Vulcan bomber during the Cold War was one of 53 ex-servicemen to receive a Veterans' Badge last Sunday.

Stan Grierson, 68, was a V Force Warrior between 1961 and 1966 as Britain kept a close eye on the former USSR.

But Mr Grierson, of Highlea Avenue, Flackwell Heath, was actually one of the younger ex-servicemen to collect a Veterans Badge, as he only joined the RAF in 1957.

The Ministry of Defence award is handed out to former armed forces personnel who served as late as 1984.

It was given to him during a St George's Day presentation at Flackwell Heath Royal British Legion.

Mr Grierson, a Scotsman, said he has been privileged enough to choose his career path unlike many former soldiers.

He said: "We had at one time 9,000 bombers and miss-iles pointing at the USSR and I was part of that group. I knew what I wanted to do, fighting with aero-planes is the sport of kings.

"You get people cutting you up at traffic lights today - try 600 knots in a railway cutting upside down for a thrill. In an aeroplane you can go that low."

Mr Grierson also flew a Vulcan Bomber during the Falklands War. He retired in 2004.

In the latter stage of his career he trained Air Training Corps cadets to fly at RAF Benson in Oxfordshire.

The presentation also saw honours bestowed on those who gave their time towards the legion's poppy appeal, which raised more than £8,500.

Harry Merryweather, 84, puts in more than 80 hours a year handing out collection boxes in Flackwell Heath.

Mr Merryweather, of Fennels Way, Flackwell Heath, received a certificate for his efforts alongside five others, includ-ing poppy appeal organiser, Keith Friend, and branch chairman, John Mayes.

He said: "It takes 84 hours to go across the village - that is six hours every day for a fortnight."

Mr Merryweather joined the Second Bucks Battalion of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry aged just 15 in 1938.

Although his unit was mobilised, he was too young to serve in France during the Second World War and was posted initially to London, where he operated searchlights and guns against German aircraft during the Blitz.

He said: "We were on five different sites in the country and every site we were on we were bombed."

He later served in Africa and Italy during the war before joining the SAS in 1952 for four years.

The ex-servicemen were handed their badges by Deputy Lord Lieutenant for Buckinghamshire, Ken Ross, who gave a speech about St George's Day.

George O'Leary, branch officer for the legion, said the presentation also helped raise the legion's profile in the community.

He said: "We may get members out of it and it creates a lot of interest."

Those receiving honours were not necessarily members of the legion.