08:50AM, Friday 19 September 2014
An ex-soldier given two years to live by doctors is setting off on a dream holiday to Las Vegas and Mexico thanks to generous friends.
Des Bridges, of Queens Close, Old Windsor was diagnosed in June with Motor Neurone Disease.
The blow came after an active life that had seen him serve 26 years with the Household Cavalry, before travelling the world working for the World Horse Welfare charity.
But his friends sprung a surprise when the 53-year-old visited the Kings Arms pub in Cookham High Street on Sunday expecting a quiet lunch with his wife Keren, 48.
Instead he found himself guest of honour at a party with 70 friends, many of whom had clubbed together to buy the couple the holiday.
Keren explained Des had been having a drink with friends and had mentioned he would like to see the Grand Canyon, which started the idea.
Des said: "To think that people would do something like that for me is amazing. I don't have the words to thank them enough."
He plans to meet up in Mexico with an old friend he worked with on the Horse Welfare charity, who is also battling serious illness.
Des is also growing a beard for charity. He hopes to beat a 'rival' who has attracted online attention for growing a beard down to his chest.
He said: "I have given myself a year to outgrow him - to raise money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association and the Household Cavalry Foundation.
"I am trying to approach my situation with humour but its very difficult to cope with - because of the devastating effect on other people. I see the effect on both my daughters."
Visit justgiving.com and type in Des Bridges to support his fundraising.
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