Friends of the late Desmond Edward Jenkins have paid tribute to the man who has left a substantial lifesaving legacy to the Wales Air Ambulance Charity.

The former RAF serviceman and electronics businessman from Treharris passed away in September 2018. In his Will, he gifted £411,110 to the helicopter charity.

Julie Richards and Nigel Arrighi are executors of the estate and fondly remember their friend.

Julie said: “I met Desmond around eight years ago as a carer. Initially, he took some getting to know but we soon struck a chord and he very much became a part of the family. We made many treasured memories together and I miss him dearly”.


Nigel and Desmond first became friends over two decades ago. Nigel said: “I remember meeting Desmond to give him assistance with a computer. He had a keen interest in photography and picture editing but was having some issues. I offered to lend a hand and our friendship blossomed from there.”


The son of a postman and piano teacher, Desmond served in the RAF as a wireless operator during the Second World War before moving to London to work in electronics.


Nigel said: “I was fortunate enough to have chatted at depth with Desmond about his eventful life. Not only did he have an interest in radio and electronics but was also very religious. He provided pastoral support during the war and, when he moved to London, became a Pastor and helped the homeless. Desmond was a genuine person and his giving side can be traced right back to his young days.”


After reaching a career peak owning his own electronics business, Desmond returned to his beloved South Wales to retire.


Julie said: “Des’ heart was always in South Wales and I think that’s why he returned to Penarth following his retirement. After working hard in London for many years, Des could not simply settle down. Returning to South Wales, he took up homeopathy and was fascinated by the use of alternative medicine. He set up a consultation room in his house and would frequently see people from the surrounding area to provide alternative remedies for everyday ailments. I think this was another way of Des wanting to help and show his caring side.”


Nigel added: “Des sadly passed away in September 2018 leaving a large amount of his estate to charity. He stated clearly in his Will that he wanted to donate some of his money to Wales Air Ambulance, not only to help people but also because he had a keen interest in helicopters and aviation. Des was struck by the work of the air ambulance and became inspired that something could be done to help those in real need.”


James Stephens, from the Wales Air Ambulance, said: “We are completely bowled over by this incredibly generous donation. It is a shame that we never met Desmond, but it is clear to see from his generosity just the type of character he was. It is heartening to see such support from people who wish to make a real difference. Every donation, regardless of amount, is always greatly appreciated. The legacy left by Desmond will ensure our fleet of four helicopters are maintained and ready to respond to emergency calls across Wales, 365 days a year.”


Julie added: “If we could sum up Desmond in just a few words it would be that he always wanted to help and would wish to be remembered as one of the good people of this world. I hope that by presenting this large sum of money to Wales Air Ambulance we are not only doing Desmond proud but also allowing his legacy to live on in the lifesaving work that the charity undertakes.”


Each year Wales Air Ambulance needs to raise £6.5 million to keep the helicopters flying. With a mission costing on average £1,500, the charity relies solely on the kindness of the people of Wales to provide a lifesaving service. Gifts in Wills are a key source of income for the charity and have funded one of the four helicopters alone in the last twelve months.


Find out more about leaving a lifesaving legacy in your will today