ONE of Wiltshire’s most successful fundraisers for the national charity, The Ulysses Trust, has died at his home near Pewsey.

Colonel David Benest OBE, who died suddenly on August 10 of heart disease aged 66, had lived in Manningford Abbots since 2001.

He came to Wiltshire with his wife Genevieve on taking up a post at Upavon, subsequently moving to Shrivenham until he retired from the British Army in 2009.

In recent years, David has been featured in the Gazette & Herald for his successful fundraising in aid of The Ulysses Trust, a national charity dedicated to funding expeditions for young Army cadets.

Having discovered that his local newspaper delivery was in jeopardy he volunteered to become a ‘paperboy’ and take on the round, donating all his earnings to the charity.

Five years on, he had raised more than £10,000, and been shortlisted for Wiltshire Life magazine’s Local Hero of the Year.

David was born in north London on April 29 1954. He attended the Royal Grammar School, Guildford, before being commissioned into The Parachute Regiment.

A varied career included several tours in Northern Ireland, his last as Commanding Officer of the 2nd Battalion in South Armagh for which he gained his OBE.

In 1982 he was Regimental Signals Officer with 2 Para during the Falklands conflict which saw the battalion defeat the Argentines at the first major land victory at Goose Green.

His account of their campaign formed the basis of 2 Para Falklands: The Battalion at War by Major General John Frost published in 1983.

Having gained a 1st class degree from Keele University in International Relations in 1981, David was able to combine his military and academic interests in later Army roles.

In retirement, he reviewed numerous books for the British Army Review and found speakers for the U3A Military History Group in Pewsey.

He loved the Wiltshire countryside and took his dogs Folly and Frodo, and latterly Harry, up Martinsell Hill near Oare every morning. The hill north of Pewsey is the third highest point in Wiltshire.

David’s funeral, a humanist service, took place on September 8 at Charlton Park Crematorium near Andover followed by a small gathering at one of his favourite pubs, The Hatchet Inn in Lower Chute.

To make a donation to The Ulysses Trust, go to