Residents are being asked to come along to a service to mark the 40th anniversary of the Falklands conflict in Stafford this weekend.
Wreaths will be laid on the town’s Falklands Gardens as part of the short service to commemorate the liberation of the Island by British forces in 1982.
The event will take place at 11am on Saturday (18 June) and has been organised by the Stafford Branch of The Royal British Legion (RBL) in collaboration with Stafford Borough Council. The Reverend John Davis MBE, the RBL Stafford Branch Chaplain, will lead the service in prayers and a bugler will play the ‘Last Post’ to conclude proceedings.
Representatives from the armed forces, past and present, will be joined by the Mayor of Stafford Borough, Councillor Philip Leason MBE, and other civic dignitaries for the brief open-air service. And the RBL are inviting residents to join the commemorations on the day.
Argentine forces invaded the Falklands on 2 April 1982 but the Islands were recaptured by British forces on 14 June - with the loss of 255 British military personnel.
The Falklands Garden was created on the town centre’s Gaol Square island following the conflict and hosted a service in 2007 to mark the 25th anniversary.
Mick Garrett MBE, Public Relations Officer for the Stafford Branch of the RBL was a 25-year-old Corporal in the Royal Air Force and remembers the frightening conditions with the thoughts of their ship being attacked by a submarine or exocet missile as they entered the ‘exclusion zone’.
He said: “I have already been overwhelmed with the messages of support I have had about the service this weekend from groups across the country representing former servicemen and women.
“I hope the weather is kind to us and we see a good turnout to remember those who lost their lives, and those still suffering, as the town marks the 40th anniversary of the Falklands conflict.
“On Saturday my thoughts will be with them and all the families affected - and I would love to see residents, and visitors to the town, joining us on the Falklands Gardens to remember what occurred 40 years ago, more than 8,000 miles away.
Councillor Patrick Farrington, Leader of the borough council, said: “Our residents have a deep affection for our armed forces and all they do across the globe to protect the freedoms we enjoy today - and testament to this is the huge crowds that attend the Remembrance service in Stafford.
“I remember the Falklands conflict as a teenager. I recall watching as our forces came home having liberated the islands - grateful for those who had made it home safely but sadness for those who had lost their lives as a result of this conflict.
“I expect many in, and outside, our borough will want to join the ex-service men and women on Saturday (18 June) to mark this 40th anniversary in a very dignified way.”
More information and timings can be found on the council website events calendar at www.staffordbc.gov.uk
Press Release No 5913