AN 88-year-old army veteran relived his dream as he sped and swerved around in a 1979 tank.

Ron Pendry, who lives at Goatacre Manor Care Centre, near Calne, got into the passenger’s seat of the British Army Alvis Spartan APC carrier on Friday.

Mr Pendry joined the 9th Lancers in Bushley Green, Tewkesbury, when he was just 18.

He worked across Europe, including Scotland and Germany, as a driver and tank instructor.

After leaving the army, Ron worked as a lorry and delivery driver for Oldacres in Bishops Cleeve, Gloucestershire, before joining a mill delivering cattle feed.

Despite enjoying his time in the army, Ron left in 1960 when he married his wife, Violet, with the couple recently celebrating their 67th wedding anniversary.

Ron and Violet have two children, Pearl Russel and Steven Pendry, 16 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.

After his time being driven around the Bicester field in the British tank, Ron said: “It was quite emotional seeing the tank at first, especially when I got back inside after not having done so in so long.

“Memories came flooding back and I loved every moment of it, especially the swerves and twists - that was a lot of fun. I want to thank the team at Goatacre for helping me achieve something I never thought I’d get a chance to again. It’s been a special day.”

His wife, Violet, said: “It brought back a lot of memories for Ron, he’s really happy bless him. He’s been talking about today for a long time so I’m so happy for him.”

Mr Pendry was able to get back into the tank thanks to his care home and SWB Motorsport, who organised the day.

One of his granddaughters, Sarah Stevenson, who proudly watched her grandad, said: “I’m absolutely over the moon. What a fitting way to end his career in the military.

“I can’t thank the Goatacre team enough for allowing grandad in a tank again. It’s just been such a brilliant day.”

SWB Motorsport driver Mike Dex said: “This is the first time we’ve helped an ex-military man in his 80s get back into a tank. He’ll certainly go down in our record books as our oldest passenger.

“It’s been a really fun day out and I’m so pleased we helped Ron complete his wish.”

In addition to fulfilling a lifelong ambition, Ron also used the day to help raise funds for Help for Heroes through sponsors.