March 3, 2021 5.38 pm This story is over 6 months old

Community campaign to celebrate Lincolnshire veteran’s 100th birthday

Bob only asked for “some birthday wishes” this year

An appeal has been launched to help a Lincolnshire war veteran celebrate his 100th birthday, with people being asked to send him cards for his big day.

Bob Sargent, an RAF veteran from Lincoln, will turn 100 years old on March 24, and a volunteer at a veteran’s club he is part of has launched a campaign to make it a birthday to remember.

Pauline Sidebottom, a volunteer at the veteran dedicated Camaraderie Club in Lincoln, has been speaking to Bob regularly on the phone, due to not being able to meet up in person as a result of lockdown, just to check in with him and make sure he is okay.

She has asked for people to send Bob a birthday card to celebrate his 100 years of life.

Bob served for five years in the RAF during the early 1940s, first training as a technician and going on to become a leading aircraftman.

He served in the Middle East, including in Iran and Iraq, and is noted as working on famous aircraft such as the Halifax and the Spitfire.

Bob said his time in the force was “the best years of my life” before the tragic passing of his father, where a touching anecdote shared by Bob shows how much his job meant to him.

Bob took compassionate leave to visit his father in hospital when he was at the end of his life. When he arrived, his dad told him: “I’m so proud of you son.”

The message was particularly poignant given that his father would die the very next day, but that didn’t stop Bob from pursuing his love of aircraft.

He left the Air Force and went to work at Luton airport, where he worked on Rolls Royce aero-engines among other huge aircraft.

Pauline told The Lincolnite that Bob “comes alive when I talk to him about his days in the RAF”, and it inspired her to give him the best birthday possible.

“I want to try and make it as special as I can, and let him know people are outside of his four walls and thinking about him.

“I did ask him what he wanted for his birthday (thinking he would say Thornton’s or Lindt because he loves them) and he said “just some birthday wishes” bless his heart, I think we can do better than that as a city can’t we?”

The Red Arrows have already agreed to donate a signed photo for Bob’s birthday, and Pauline is asking for the community to also chip in for him.

If you wand to send Bob a card, please send it to 32 St Edwards Drive, Sudbrooke, Lincoln, LN2 2QR, the address of someone who will deliver these cards for his big day.

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