Armed Forces Day this year had a special significance for Second World War veteran Bill Hudson ... because it was also his 96th birthday.
The sprightly pensioner and his wife Phyllis have spent all their married life in Cooksbridge but Bill will never let you forget he is a Yorkshireman by birth and upbringing.
He joined the West Yorkshire Regiment in 1937 and Quarter Master Sergeant Hudson then saw service in Palestine and Burma.
After the war his life took another direction when he came south, met Phyllis and became a familiar figure to thousands when he took a job as a postman in Lewes.
Bill never misses a Sunday service at Offham Church and up to a year ago his ramrod straight figure could be seen walking the mile from his home to St Peter’s – he has now agreed to a lift by car. And of course the old soldier is never late on parade!
The Rector of Offham, Derek Bastide, and his wife Judith laid on a big surprise for Bill’s birthday. They contacted his old regiment who were keen to honour their oldest surviving comrade.
The Colonel sent him a personal letter, a cap badge and lapel pin as well as a set of regimental magazines.
All were presented to Bill by another former soldier, Brian Walter, at a wine and cake celebration after the Sunday service.
And for once even the normally talkative Bill was lost for words.