Crawley war hero, 92, dies

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A Crawley war hero has died.

Alan Saunders, of Old Martys, Langley Green, passed away in East Surrey Hospital on August 3.

To raise money for charity he travelled at 100mph down the world’s fastest and longest zip-wire, aged 92, last September.

Alan raised more than £3,000 for Blind Veterans UK. He said: “I didn’t feel any qualms of terror, I was just excited and curious of what i was going to feel.

“It was a wonderful, exhilarating experience, I was travelling at 100mph.

“It was all over in 58 seconds - it was short!”

A funeral service will be held on Wednesday (August 26) at 10.45am in the Memorial Chapel, Surrey and Sussex Crematorium.

Alan joined the charity after he became a widower and lost most of his sight as a result of macular degeneration and cataracts.

He said: “I was right down to the bottom of the pit, I couldn’t get any further.

“With their help I gave myself a mental kick up the backside - I’m living now.”

The charity provides support, rehabilitation, recreation and welfare to blind veterans.

Alan planned to do a wing walk in support of the charity this year.

He said: “I would walk to the ends of the world if I could for Blind Veterans UK.

“It’s unbelievable what they do for them.

“It’s given me a new lease of life.”

Alan left school at 17 and joined the Royal Marines in 1940.

He was one of the few survivors of the Dieppe Raid in 1942.

The raid saw his unit met with heavy gunfire from German defences.

The British and Canadian attack on a port resulted in “catastrophic” loss of life.

Alan and his unit were forced to swim for home.

He was picked up by a patrol vessel after hours of swimming.

Following many other campaigns, Alan was given a medical discharge on August 20, 1945.

Donations can be made to Blind Veterans UK or MacMillan Cancer support.

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