Doncaster man’s 80th birthday treat for charity

Don Axon and Ben Parkinson.

Don Axon and Ben Parkinson.

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A big-hearted Doncaster pensioner celebrated a milestone birthday with a difference - by asking friends to donate to charity instead of giving him presents.

Don Axon celebrated his 80th birthday with a special party at The Burghwallis pub but rather than being showered with gifts he asked guests to donate to the Pilgrim Bandits charity.

And the fun night on Saturday, October 1, managed to raise £900 for the cause, which organises challenges aimed at inspiring injured military veterans to live life to the full.

The charity is supported by former paratrooper Ben Parkinson MBE, who was nearly killed while serving in the British Army in Afghanistan in 2006 when a Taliban bomb blew up a Land Rover he was travelling in.

The 32-year-old Bessacarr man lost both legs and suffered injuries including brain damage, and has been described as the UK’s most severely injured soldier to survive his wounds.

But he has continually defied the odds to complete a number of charity challenges and he dropped by at the fundraising birthday party to say thank you, just hours after raising more than £400 at a previous charity event earlier that day at Doncaster Racecourse.

Don was not available for comment yesterday but a spokeswoman for Burghwallis Parish Council said he described Ben as “inspirational” and added that guests enjoyed a “fabulous hot and cold buffet while the DJ played music from the era of Vera Lynn for Don to the present day for Ben encouraging everyone to sing and dance.”