A VETERAN soldier has put down his pen and picked up his guitar as part of his latest fundraising efforts for injured soldiers.

Gil Boyd, who last year wrote the tale of Bing, a parachuting dog who won the Victoria Cross, has turned his attentions to music after his wife Theo organised a studio recording session for his 60th birthday.

Mr Boyd told The Hunts Post: "I didn't want to have a big do for my 60th birthday so my wife organised a secret 60 - 60 things for me to do this year. One of those was a studio recording at Harston. I performed two songs in one session then returned to do more. I always wanted to do it for charity."

The album, The Best is Yet to Come, of 10 cover songs includes numbers that were hits for Elvis, the Beatles and the Temptations. It was released two weeks ago and will raise money for soldiers returning from Afghanistan and a museum dedicated to parachutists.

Mr Boyd, who lives in Pidley, served with the Second Battalion the Parachute Regiment until 1974. He said he honed his skills with the guitar while in Northern Ireland, playing alone after patrols. Proceeds from the album, which costs £7.50, goes towards the Afghanistan Trust, which was set up nine months before Help for Heroes and supports soldiers on their return to the UK, and the Airborne Assault Museum at Duxford, of which Mr Boyd is a trustee. "It was done for me as a surprise, so I wanted to raise money for them as a surprise," he added. "It's more pertinent to me as my son is still serving with the parachute regiment." Mr Boyd's secret 60 has also included visiting a wine cellar at Peterhouse in Cambridge, seeing the Illegal Eagles and going to dinner parties in Cambridge.

INFORMATION: Listen to The Best is Yet to Come at www.huntspost24.co.uk. To order, send a cheque for £8.50 (£7.50 plus £1 p&p) payable to Airborne Assault Trading Ltd to Airborne Assault, Bldg 213, IWM Duxford, Cambridgeshire CB22 4QR.