Generous Help for Heroes fundraiser presented with national award - despite being told he would never walk again
This is despite Mr Eaton being disabled since 1979, after a lorry driver who was over the drink-drive limit hit his vehicle - causing him to have a total of 36 operations on his legs, knees, arms, throat, spine and feet.
Mr Eaton, who attended the ceremony with his wife Julie, was presented with the award, which recognises “exceptional individuals who work tirelessly and selflessly to make a positive impact on society”, at the House of Lords on Thursday, January 28.
“It was an amazing day, a truly humbling experience,” Tony said.
“It was very overwhelming.
“It was quite emotional at times and there was a lot of inspirational people there.”
“We all gave a one minute speech and I said thank you to my wife for all the help she has given me.”
Mr Eaton, who was born in Mansfield, retired in March 2014 from his role as a Major in Nottinghamshire Army cadet force after 16 years.
He is currently the regional manager for Help for Heroes and previously volunteered as an Ambulance first responder.
He has also completed the London Marathon, carried the Olympic Torch in 2012 and has just donated his 88th pint of blood.
“I am lucky to be alive,” Mr Eaton. Every day is a bonus for me.”
“Without all the great doctors and physios who never gave up on me I would not be here.”
This year, Mr Eaton, who has also just been nominated for a Bassetlaw Achievers’ Award, says he wants to raise even more funds through cycling and work towards donating his 100th pint of blood.
And the operations are not over yet - as he is set to have more surgery on his hand in the upcoming weeks.
He joked: “There’s a lot of metal in me, I must be worth a lot in scrap.”
His wife Julie said: “The general public in our community think highly of him. Tony has always put others first, helping anyone in need.”