A soldier statue made in Littlehampton has travelled across the world to the Falkland Islands for the anniversary of their liberation.
Alan Peskett, a 54-year-old Navy veteran from East Preston who fought in the Falklands War, handed over the statue to Gary Clement, chairman of the Falklands Veterans Foundation, on June 18 in Port Stanley.
It will sit pride of place in the lobby of Liberty Lodge, the charity’s accomodation for Falklands veterans
The ornate wooden sculpture was made by Roy Amos from the Littlehampton & District Men’s Shed West group and funded by The Littlehampton Armed Forces and Veterans Club.
Alan said: “They were absolutely delighted. I was telling them about the Men in Sheds and the breakfast club and they were really pleased.
“They appreciated the fact that we remember it here, even though we are so far away.”
Alan went over to the Falklands to mark the 37th anniversary of Liberation Day on June 14: the date in 1982 when the Argentinians ended their military occupation of the Falklands following a ten-week conflict that Alan himself was part of.
He avoided a near disaster when he opened his suitcase and found the statue broken.
He said: “It was such a large piece that I put it in my suitcase wrapped in bubblewrap with clothes on each side; I didn’t think it could get broken that way.
“When I opened my suitcase, I was absolutely mortified.”
Thankfully, the son of a Liberty Lodge staff member was a carpenter and repaired it. “It all worked out in the end,” Alan said.
The veteran is also a member of the veteran club’s breakfast group, which meets at Café 72 in High Street, Littlehampton, and said he was ‘really quite moved’ by Roy’s gesture. He said:
“The camaraderie between the Armed Forces you can’t explain to anybody unless you have done it.”