AS spring approaches I ask that we turn our thoughts to the fact that this will be the 30th anniversary of the Falkland Islands War.
In 1982, the battle to recapture the islands cost 255 lives of British Servicemen.
It is a conflict that remains in the minds of the soldiers, sailors and airmen who were involved.
All who were there remember their comrades who did not return, but for some the memories have become too painful. It is a tragic fact that more Falklands veteran heroes have taken their own lives since the war than died during the conflict.
As we remember the bravery of all those who fought in the Falklands, we should also remember those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan, the recent tragic loss of six servicemen brings the total to 400.
Let us not forget that there are scars of war, both physical and mental that often remain long after a conflict.
There are apparently 400 military charities registered with the Charities Commission, and of those there are only two that deal directly with the servicemen and women, past and present, and the families of both – the Royal British Legion (60-years-old last year) and SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association) Forces Help, the national charity that cares and supports our heroes and heroines and their families, past and present, and have been doing so for 127 years.
Last year alone SSAFA Forces Help assisted 70,000 members of our tri-service community and here in the Northumberland branch we assisted 3,500, and that represented veterans and serving members, no matter what rank, of all ages.
Northumberland branch has 40 volunteers, all fully trained.
We are here to provide practical, emotional or financial support – or if you feel you would like to volunteer please do not hesitate to get in touch.
You can contact me, Major Brian William Finlayson, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (01665) 576756.
To speak with SSAFA Forces Help in your area, contact:
Wansbeck and Morpeth: email@example.com (01670) 860919;
Blyth: firstname.lastname@example.org (01670) 541571;
MAJOR BRIAN WILLIAM FINLAYSON
SSAFA Forces Help