THE proud family of a hero from Longford have collected his OBE after he sadly passed away in December 2020.

More than two years after Robert Anders was awarded the OBE, and nearly three years since the deeds which earned him the Royal Fleet Auxiliary officer formal recognition, his family were finally able to attend Buckingham Palace for the investiture.

The dad-of-two, who suddenly died from a brain tumour, joined the Royal Fleet Auxiliary in 1989.

With more than 30 years of service to his name in the RFA, Capt Anders was a popular figure, commanding a string of ships since 2015.

Robert, who was keen supporter of Warrington Wolves,  saved the lives of people trapped in the Bahamas as captain of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship Mounts Bay in September 2019 during a hurricane relief mission.

Warrington Guardian: Capt Anders' parents and childrenCapt Anders' parents and children

The region was devastated by the category five Hurricane Dorian, which destroyed homes through 185mph winds and left residents hungry, thirsty and without and shelter.

Rob’s vessel brought water, food, medical supplies and prefabricated buildings when the disaster struck, and the former William Beamont High School pupil saved the life of an elderly woman as she lay trapped under rubble for four days.

In the days which followed, more than 6,000 people were helped by the ship’s team in some of the worst-hit areas of Great Abaco Island and surrounding region.

Six months later his actions of 2019 led to the OBE being announced in the first Operational Honours of 2020

But by then the country was in Covid lockdown so investitures were put on hold and the Anders were denied their proud family day out until now.

His widow Phillipa and teenage children Nell, 17, and Will, 16, who now live near Woodbridge in Suffolk, were joined by Rob’s parents as the Duke of Cambridge presented Capt Anders’ decoration.

Warrington Guardian: Capt Anders' widow and childrenCapt Anders' widow and children

“We were incredibly honoured to be able to pick Rob’s OBE up for him. The day was full of emotion and pride and we couldn't have been treated more kindly and generously,” said Mrs Anders.

“Because of the situation, it was agreed that all three of us should go up to accept the OBE, giving us all the chance to talk with Prince William.

“He told us about his time onboard RFA Mounts Bay and asked Nell and Will to look after their mum!

“After the investiture, we met up with Rob’s mum and dad for a celebratory lunch."

Warrington Guardian: Personnel from RFA Mounts Bay delivering aid in the BahamasPersonnel from RFA Mounts Bay delivering aid in the Bahamas