From Witbank to Windsor Castle - how Jaco van Gass rode his way to an MBE

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Jaco van Gass, from the battlefields of Afghanistan, to riding velodromes and earning an MBE. (Photo: Crown Copyright)
Jaco van Gass, from the battlefields of Afghanistan, to riding velodromes and earning an MBE. (Photo: Crown Copyright)

A Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) is the third highest-ranking Order of the British Empire award.

South African-born Jaco van Gass was awarded the MBE by Prince Wales at Windsor Castle as part of the Queen’s recent birthday celebrations last week.

This award came following a stellar performance at the Tokyo Paralympic Games, where Van Gass won two gold medals and one bronze and set three world records.

Van Gass was born in Middelburg and grew up in Witbank. After completing high school, he joined the British army. 

On his second tour in Afghanistan, Van Gass lost his arm and severely damaged his lower leg. He was serving as a member of the Parachute Regiment, with only two weeks left on an operational deployment, when a 45-minute firefight altered his life.

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