A SOLDIER has received an MBE for his service to the armed forces and his dedication to bridging the gap between civilian and military communities.

Sergeant Arun Cofax, who was born in Chester and raised in Ellesmere Port, was presented with his award by the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace last month.

Having served his country in some of the world’s most hostile areas, he had been named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in June this year.

Among his achievements, father-of-two Arun was part of Operation RUMAN delivering aid in the Caribbean and the British Virgin Islands with 3 Commando Brigade in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

After receiving his MBE – coincidentally on the same day as his son Riley’s ninth birthday – he said: “Receiving an MBE for my services to the Ministry of Defence is truly humbling.

“The time I spent at Buckingham Palace with my family felt surreal. I cannot believe how far I have come personally and professionally in the last fifteen years whilst serving my country.”

Arun, 33, was born at the Countess of Chester hospital in March 1984 and was raised in Ellesmere Port.

He attended Sutton High School and finished in 2000 when he started an apprenticeship in bricklaying with a building company in Ellesmere Port.

After deciding to join the Army in 2002, he joined the Royal Engineers and conducted basic training at Army Training Regiment Pirbright in August 2002.

He then completed his combat engineer training at Gibraltar Barracks, finishing his trade training in Chatham in 2004.

Having known each other from a very young age, Arun married his wife Natalie on July 25, 2003, and 14 years on they now have two sons Camerun, 12, and Riley.

He volunteered for parachute training within 16 Air Assault Brigade in April 2004 and passed Pegasus Company training and earned his Maroon Beret and Parachute Wings.

Once he was successfully qualified to work within Airborne Forces, he was posted to Aldershot into 9 Parachute Squadron RE.

After completing numerous exercises and operational deployments all over the world including Iraq and Afghanistan, Arun was promoted through the ranks to corporal.

He and his family moved to Gibraltar Barracks in June 2008 to teach combat engineering to Sappers.

He then enjoyed the opportunity of teaching Junior Non-Commissioned Officers how to be leaders and develop their subordinates. This was a role that Arun said he thoroughly enjoyed and felt that he added value back into the Army.

In 2010 he volunteered to serve in Commando Forces within 3 Commando Brigade and was posted to 24 Commando Royal Engineers.

Upon passing commando training at Commando Training Centre Royal Marines, Lympstone and earning the ‘coveted’ Green Beret he served initially in 59 Commando Squadron RE.

Once again he was deployed all over the world to some of the most austere and hostile environments, delivering combat engineer support to 3 Commando Brigade.

It was during his next posting into 54 Commando Squadron RE that Arun shone a little brighter.

His efforts of developing a Corporals’ Club and organising local fundraising events and raising funds for local community projects proved his commitment to developing relationships across military and civilian communities.

He also dedicated himself to continuously developing and offering alternative methods for the regiment he served to conduct operations or exercises and strive for excellence whilst deployed on operations across the globe.

Arun was promoted to Sergeant in 2015 and was posted back into 59 Commando Squadron RE in January 2016.

He was again deployed around the globe and recently returned from Operation RUMAN delivering disaster relief and humanitarian aid efforts in the Caribbean and the British Virgin Islands.