Scuba club auctions off young war hero’s diving jacket

This Is Local London: Roger Bacon, the soldier's father, and Ray Peck, from the scuba club Roger Bacon, the soldier's father, and Ray Peck, from the scuba club

A scuba club is auctioning off a young war hero’s diving jacket to help youngsters attend life-changing adventure courses.

Proceeds will go towards a bursary in memory of Major Matthew Bacon, 33, who grew up in East Molesey and was killed by a roadside bomb in Basra eight years ago.

His father Roger donated his scuba diving equipment to London City Scuba Club, which has volunteered to help fundraise and sell the Zeagle Ranger jacket on eBay.

Club chairman Ray Peck, from Preston Drive, Ewell, said: "When we first spoke to Mr Bacon on the phone we were not fully aware of the circumstances of Matthew's death but when we met him in person with the gear and discovered the full story we felt we had to do something to help."

This Is Local London:

Major Matthew Bacon in the Red Sea

The club immediately donated £100 to his bursary that enables army cadets to follow in his adventurous footsteps by going on life-changing courses run by the Outward Bound Trust.

Mr Peck said: "Matthew was clearly an extraordinary person with a zest for life and his family are doing all they can to preserve his memory in a way that will help others to get the most out of their lives.

"What we are doing is not just about the sale of his jacket but about boosting a fund which offers invaluable opportunities to young people."

Maj Bacon had a passion for sky-diving, snow-boarding and scuba diving.

He enlisted in the Army Air Corps at the age of 17 and was later selected for officer training at Sandhurst Royal Military Academy.

This Is Local London:  Bacon with his Major Matthew Bacon with his parents at Sandhurst

As a Special Forces intelligence officer, he was killed just five weeks after he was posted to Iraq.

His father said: "It has been hard deciding what to do with many of his things. Matthew was such an adventure lover that we did not just want to throw away items that could be of use to others.

"His diving equipment in particular was very special to us so initially I contacted BSAC [British Sub-Aqua Club] to see if there was a local group which could make use of it. They pointed me to one on our doorstep, right here in London."

This Is Local London:

Major Matthew Bacon in Afghanistan in January 2005

Maj Bacon started out in an army cadet force unit at Walton-on-Thames. He served with the Army in Germany, Northern Ireland, Canada, The Gulf, Cyprus, Afghanistan and the Balkans.

The jacket was brand new and unused at the time of his death.

His father said: "He learned to scuba dive just after he was commissioned and it became one of his greatest passions."

To donate and for information on the eBay auction, to be held between May 21 and 31, visit www.justgiving.com/LondonCityScuba.

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