A wartime hero’s bravery medal has arrived from Russia, with love – and eternal gratitude.
Cristobal Campos was personally presented with the Medal of Ushakov at his home in East Boldon by Vadim Retyunskiy, Third Secretary at Russia’s London embassy.
The presentation marks the end of three years of concern from the Russian Convoy veteran that he would not live to receive the distinguished medal.
The former Merchant Navy, 98, man applied for it along with 3,300 other British Second World War veterans in about 2014.
But while 2,000 had already received it, dad-of-two Mr Campos feared he had been forgotten.
However, after being contacted bythe Gazette, embassy staff quickly located the medal and informed him of the find.
On Saturday, Mr Retyunskiy visited Mr Campos, of Don View, to officially hand it to him.
Mr Campos, who sailed on two convoy missions, in 1943 and 1944, said: “It is wonderful to finally be presented with this very distinguished medal.
“I had been hoping to receive it for a long time.
“It is a nice feeling to have it here with me now.
“It was nice to meet Vadim and to know that the embassy is prepared to send someone all the way to South Tyneside to present it.”
The medal was created by the Russians in 1944, in recognition of those who defended the country in wartime.
Mr Campos, a widower, who was born in Spain, worked in the engine room of the steam ship Ocean Viceroy.
Four years ago, he was awarded the Arctic Star medal by the British government in recognition of his wartime service.
At about the same time he applied for the Medal Ushakov, when it became available to British veterans.
His son, Michael, 64, who is a business development manager, of Stanley, Co Durham, said: “My dad is over the moon at receiving the medal.
“He’s in very good health, but it was of concern to him that he would not live long enough to see it presented.
“It is important that people who served Britain’s interests during the Second World War are acknowledged for what they did.
“We are grateful the newspaper for highlighting my dad’s concerns with the embassy.
“I’m also gratefulto Vadim for coming here to present the medal in person.”