A VETERAN who lost his wife and son within a couple of years was thrilled to receive an invite to Buckingham Palace.

Ron Bailey, 82, from the Bluebell Estate, Pandy, was invited to the palace last week having been nominated by the Not Forgotten Association, a British Armed Forces charity for serving and ex-service men and women.

He has served as chairman, vice-chairman and secretary of the Wrexham branch of the association, and is believed to be the Wrexham branch's longest serving member.

Princess Anne, as patron of the Not Forgotten Association, welcomed more than 2,500 guests from over 120 military organisations to Buckingham Palace for the annual garden party.

Mr Bailey lost his son, popular boxer Martyn 'Boom Boom' Bailey, a father-of-two, to a rare sleep disorder in February 2015.

The Leader:

Martin 'Boom Boom' Bailey died in February 2015

Martyn, of Offa, was a Welsh schoolboy champion and achieved his dream of turning professional before his sudden death aged 39.

Mr Bailey was thrilled to attend the gathering at the palace, with his partner Joyce Toth, where they met Princess Anne and saw celebrities such as Debbie McGee and Alfie Boe.

He said: "I served in the Royal Artillery as a regular between 1954 and 1957.

"It was very uplifting for me because I've had a very tough three-and-a-half-years.

"Five years ago I lost my wife and three-and-a-half years ago I lost Martyn and was absolutely devastated. It has been a rough three-and-a-half years.

"It was an honour to be asked to attend, the invitation came completely out of the blue.

"We had a wonderful, wonderful time.

"And when you see some of the other servicemen there, with missing limbs and injuries, it is quite humbling.

"I got a smile from Princess Anne and she was lovely, she was so lovely to all the soldiers and made time for everyone.

"It is nice to be smiling again after a tough few years."