The wake of a former RAF serviceman is being held today to raise cash to help Dartmouth soldier Cayle Royce whose life was shattered by a Taliban bomb while serving in Afghanistan.

Cayle, who lost both legs and suffered other serious injuries in the IED bomb blast, is still being treated in hospital nine months after the Taliban ambush.

The last wish of friend of the family Dick Williams, who died last month, was that donations from his funeral service and from a wake at the Royal British Legion's Mill Club in Kingsbridge should go direct to helping Cayle.

This week Cayle's mum Bronwyn said she was 'absolutely grateful' to the Williams family for their support.

And she added: 'We are thankful to everyone of the people who have rallied around in the town to help. They have been fantastic.'

She said she still did not know when 26-year-old Cayle will be coming home to Dartmouth from the rehabilitation unit at Headley Court in Surrey where he is being treated. 'He still has to undergo operations in the near future and he does not want to come back until that is all done,' she said.

Cayle lost both his legs and suffered a broken neck, facial injuries and serious injuries to his left hand in an IED explosion in a Taliban ambush in Afghanistan.

He spent five and a half weeks in a coma in hospital in the UK.

Mr Williams, who died on September 25, aged 74, and his wife Brenda lived in East Allington. Their daughter Sarah Jane, who is known as SJ, is an estate agent in Dartmouth and a friend of the Cayle family.

Mr Williams served in the RAF for 12 years.

His memorial service is being held at Lacey Green, near Princes Risborough, in Buckinghamshire on Friday, October 19, but a wake is being held in Kingsbridge today from 3.30pm.

A family spokesman said: 'It was Dick's wish that if anyone wanted to mark his passing the best legacy would be to raise money for our wounded soldiers. There is one wounded soldier in particular whom the family knows personally and whom we would like to help in whatever way we can.'

They added: 'It is hoped that Cayle will soon be able to return to Dartmouth, however, his physical struggle will now be added to with a financial burden. It is a sad reality that because of the current economic climate and the number of wounded soldiers returning, there are not the resources available that the British public would expect.

'At 26, Cayle has the rest of his life ahead of him and the difficulties he will face in securing employment, accommodation and transport are obvious. '

They said Cayle once helped the family by volunteering to travel from Dartmouth to London to help at a function organised in aid of the Metropolitan Police. They added: 'It is now time that we try to help Cayle. Every single penny donated in memory of Dick will go directly to Cayle.'

Cayle began serving with B Squadron, the Light Dragoon, in Helmand, Afghanistan on April 2 this year.

His role was to carry out reconnaissance work as part of a group of highly-trained soldiers involved in dangerous raids on Taliban IED factories.

On May 2, his troop was on the way back from a successful raid when they were ambushed. While under attack, Cayle moved into position behind a tree and stepped on an IED.

Mr Williams was the landlord of the Whip Inn at Lacey Green before moving to the South Hams and for the last few years was on the gate at Blackpool Sands and helped Brenda run the kitchen at Kingsbridge RBL club. He leaves four children – SJ, Emma, Michael and Helen – as well as Brenda.

Bucket collections to help Cayle, in memory of Mr Williams, will be made at the wake and service.

Cheques payable to KE Cooper can also be sent to Savills Funeral Directors, The Moorland, Union Road, Kingsbridge TQ7 1EF, or cash by online transfer to account 52624288, sort code 90-78-68, ref 'Dick Williams'.