AN Army veteran is celebrating the return of his medals — after his wife mistakenly dropped them into a post box along with the rest of the couple’s mail.

Malcolm Vickers’ campaign medals went on an incredible 1,000-mile journey over five days before the Royal Mail and the Ministry of Defence (MOD) joined forces to return the package to Mr Vickers, who is the secretary of the secretary of the Hindley branch of The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.

The mishap occurred after Mr Vickers left his medals in a packet on the stairs at his Westhoughton home next to other mail ready for posting.

His wife Mary then posted the medals into a Hart Common post box.

Despite a rush to the post box to retrieve the parcel Mr Vickers was too late and the postman had already been.

The medals had recently been applied for by Mr Vickers from a firm in Sheffield specialising in commemoration awards that many soldiers did not receive because they were not campaign medals issued by the MOD.

Mr Vickers said: “I usually leave out-going mail on the stairs so Mary just thought it was something to be posted.”

The 69-year-old was told the medals had arrived at the lost mail centre in Manchester from lost property in Belfast but that they had then been posted to the MOD in Gloucester who sent the medals to London before Mr Vickers was finally reunited with them.

He added: “I cannot thank the post office enough. After numerous phone calls, emails and letters exchanged it looked, for a time, like I would never see my medals again.”

Mr Vickers is a veteran of the 5th Battalion of the Loyals.

• The Friendly Loyals meet on the first Tuesday of each month at The Banner Pub on Banner Street, Hindley at 7pm. Any ex-service personnel are welcome to attend the group.