A FORMER Royal Navy helicopter pilot is to be honoured for decades of charity work, including bringing food and hope to Bosnian civilians during the war there.

Tim Boughton, who lives in Hyde, Winchester, will be made a Commander of the Order of St John by HM The Queen at a ceremony in June.

The 42-year-old, who flew Sea Kings with the Fleet Air Arm’s elite 845 Squadron Commando Helicopter Force, has worked voluntarily for St John Ambulance Wales and the Fly Navy Heritage Trust for a decade.

But his charitable efforts first began whilst deployed to Bosnia in 1994.

Lt Boughton, then serving in the Army, helped arrange for empty compartments in Royal Navy vessels sailing to Split to be filled with food for distribution to war-stricken civilians.

He and fellow soldiers also discovered a three-year-old boy near to death, hiding in a cellar after his parents were killed in an ethnic cleansing atrocity.

They rescued him, located his grandparents and have stayed in touch with him ever since.

Today Eli is 23, and has recently finished a mechanical engineering degree.

“Meeting him as an adult was one of those heart-stopping moments,” said Mr Boughton, who now works in finance.

“He said if we hadn’t found him and taken an interest, he has no idea what would have happened to him.

“But you don’t do this sort of thing for the recognition, you do it because you want to make a difference.”

More recently Mr Boughton has worked for St John Ambulance Wales in his spare time, helping to raise nearly £3m, much of which has been used to buy and equip nine new ambulances.

He has just helped to secure funding for a major bursary scheme for the charity, which offers First Aid training to those living in remote valleys so they can stabilise a patient while urgent medical help is summoned.

“The additional ambulances have saved hundreds of lives - and we will continue with the project until everywhere in Wales is within 30 minutes of some form of immediate response,” he said.

“St John’s isn’t just an ambulance service at the edge of a football pitch, there’s real depth to what they do in Wales, getting into the valleys and making a difference.”

The Order of St John is a royal chivalric order, established in 1831, with a world-wide mission “to prevent and relieve sickness and injury, and to act to enhance the health and well-being of people anywhere in the world”.

Mr Boughton said he will receive his honour at Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff, adding: “I’m humbled. This is all a team effort and not just me by any stretch of the imagination”.