A VETERAN paratrooper from Yeadon has finally been presented with his medals - more than 70 years later.

Geoff Gaunt, now 91, joined the Army in 1945 and was stationed in Palestine, with the Army Air Corps, in 1948.

Despite his service, he had never been presented with the two medals - the War Medal and the General Service Medal (Palestine) - he had earned.

When fellow ex-serviceman Ray Weldrand, who like Mr Gaunt plays at Rawdon Park Bowling Club, found out he was determined to rectify what he saw as a clear injustice.

He helped get the medals delivered by post and then, on Thursday, August 9, arranged a surprise presentation ceremony at the Hawthorne Farm pub in Yeadon.

The event saw Mr Gaunt presented with a case containing the badge of the Parachute Regiment, a set of wings, and two replicas of his medals.

The party was attended by family, friends - including players from the bowling club - and the Regional Secretary of the Parachute Regimental Association, Mick Wattam, who also presented Mr Gaunt with a brand new red beret.

Speaking afterwards the ex-paratrooper said he was amazed by the surprise and felt that he didn't deserve 'all the fuss'.

Mr Weldrand, who served in the Royal Corps of Transport from 1966 to 1979, told the Wharfedale & Aireborough Observer: "Geoff was a bit overwhelmed by the surprise but he was delighted with the presentation and his brand new red beret.

"Medals tend to be put away in a drawer and then they're forgotten about so I wanted to get him a proper presentation.

"It all came from wanting to rectify the wrong that Geoff suffered.

"To begin with I'd wanted to get his medals delivered as a surprise but we came up against the Data Protection Act, so he had to get involved.

"He got them through the post a few weeks ago but that's not the same as having them presented.

"A medal parade in the army is one of your biggest moments when you are handed them by your Commanding Officer and then head off afterwards to celebrate with your friends.

"I didn't like the fact Geoff had missed out on that, so I started arranging this surprise and got in touch with the Parachute Regimental Association who were also unhappy that he had 'slipped through the net'."

He added: "Geoff is 91 but is so fit for his age.

"He plays bowls three or four times a week and he's an absolute gentleman."