A HIGHLY decorated soldier has finished his illustrious career the way he started it – by enjoying a pint in the pub.
Richard Knight’s 22-year stint has seen him guard the Royal Family, complete tours of Bosnia and Afghanistan and receive the Joint Commander’s Commendation award.
When he joined up on August 31, 1991, Mr Knight took his money and went to the pub with a friend.
On Saturday night, the 40-year-old headed to the recently-renovated Blythe Inn, Kingstone, to spearhead a Help for Heroes fund-raising event.
He said: “There were a lot of squaddies and ex-military personnel coming down to support a great cause and a great pub.
“We threw in £300 and there’ll be a collection box behind the bar, so hopefully we can raise a good total.
“Tracey Rees, the landlady, offered us the pub for free and she’s been absolutely brilliant. “
Mr Knight, from Uttoxeter, joined the Royal Army Medical Corps as a combat medical tech before transferring to the environmental health division.
He served in countries including Jamaica, Ukraine, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Cyprus and Germany.
He said: “I’ve gone from some quite low-powered roles to positions of quite high influence, including being head of environmental health for the military during the London 2012 Olympic Games.
“I did tours of Afghanistan and Bosnia, and saw both the best and worst of humanity.
“I’ve seen friendships and comradeship, pulled bodies from the battlefield and seen entire villages destroyed.”
During his last year of service, the married father of two was awarded the prestigious Standing Joint Commander’s Commendation, wrote a health and safety report on the Olympics for Prime Minister David Cameron and guarded the royals during the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations.
He said: “Part of my job down there was to work on the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, which was unforgettable.
“I had the honour of standing on the cenotaph and my last day in service was spent guarding the royals.
“We were standing behind Princes Harry, Andrew and Edward and Kate Middleton, and I got to meet Her Majesty the Queen.
“It’s been an eventful career considering I was just a little lad from Uttoxeter when I joined all those years ago.”