A FORMER Hereford soldier fought his final battle with leukaemia with the same courage that he showed throughout his life, which included being shot and taken prisoner during the Korean War and later joining the SAS.

Donald "Lofty" Large was 76 when he died at St Michael's Hospice, three years after becoming ill.

"He was a wonderful and brave man who never complained and was much loved by his family," said his widow, Anna.

At his funeral, more than £1,000 was raised for St Michael's Hospice and the Charles Renton Macmillan Fund.

Lofty was in the Gloucestershire Regiment in the Korean War when he was shot in the shoulder and taken prisoner by the Chinese before being released after two years in an exchange of disabled prisoners.

He fought his way back to fitness and was accepted into the SAS twice - because he was injured in a motorcycle accident shortly after passing the first selection course.

In 1960, his family moved to Hereford with the regiment. During his time in the SAS, he completed tours in Malaya, Oman, Aden and Borneo.

After returning to civilian life in 1963 he wrote two books - the first about his experience in the Korean War and then about his time in the SAS.

He had a number of jobs after the Army, both in the UK and the Middle East. The last 14 years of his working life before retirement were spent as a driving instructor.

"The army was his life and they were very supportive until the very end. Someone visited him every day in St Michael's," said Anna.

Lofty leaves a widow, Anna, a son, Andy, and a daughter, Donna.