Hornchurch sailor receives prestigious medal for 15 years of service

Leon Cole receiving his medal from admiral Sir George Zambellas.

Leon Cole receiving his medal from admiral Sir George Zambellas. - Credit: Royal Navy

A Royal Navy officer has been awarded a prestigious medal for his 15 years of service.

Petty Officer Air Engineering Technician (POAET) Leon Cole, from Hornchurch, received the medal from the head of the navy, admiral Sir George Zambellas at the Culdrose airfield in Cornwall.

Speaking about the occasion, the 34-year-old former pupil of Abbs Cross School, said: “It’s a great privilege to be personally presented with my medal by the admiral. It’s something I’ll remember for a long time to come.

“It was always my dream to join the forces and serve my country.”

Leon, who now lives in Penzance, joined the navy in 1996 as a junior air engineering mechanic before going on to work on search and rescue helicopters.

He completed his leading hands course in 2002 and then served in the Middle East before being promoted to Petty Officer.