FALKLANDS legend Simon Weston has praised the people of Portsmouth for their ‘phenomenal support’ of the city’s armed forces community.
The inspirational war hero – who was horrifically disfigured in the 1982 conflict – said Portsmouth was one of the best communities when it came to supporting service families.
And now the 56-year-old has demanded that other cities in the UK follow Portsmouth’s example in showing their pride for those who risk their lives to defend the nation’s freedom.
The dad-of-two said: ‘We need to be louder and prouder about who we are as British people.
‘We don’t overtly celebrate the military like we should. That’s not a government problem – that’s a societal issue.
‘We do have Armed Forces Day – and quite rightly so. But we need to make sure that the young servicemen and their families feel appreciated.’
He added: ‘Portsmouth is great at doing this.
‘The support that has been given to military families here is huge, it’s phenomenal. It’s a brilliant city.’
Mr Weston’s comments come just days before he attends a major charity event in Portsmouth.
The war hero turned-inspirational-speaker will be the guest of honour at the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth’s charity gala dinner on Friday.
Speaking of the event, Mr Weston said he would be focusing not on the horrors of his injury and service but on his life afterwards.
He said: ‘I will be telling colloquial stuff – stuff that’s true. Some of it will be humorous, some of it will be emotional.
‘I’m just going to be telling the humorous side of what’s happened to me over the past 35 years.’
Mr Weston suffered horrifying burns when his landing ship, Sir Galahad, was bombed during the bid to retake the Falklands from the Argentinean invaders 35 years ago.
The injuries affected 46 per cent of his body.
Since then, he has been on a journey of recovery, enduring countless operations – his most recent just weeks ago.
He has used his profile to start a number of charity ventures, including the Weston Spirit. He is also the patron of Care After Combat.
Simon has two children, James and Stuart and is married to wife Lucy.
Tickets are still available for black tie charity gala
TICKETS for the charity gala dinner featuring Simon Weston are still on sale.
The event is taking place at the Royal Maritime Club in Queen Street, Portsea, on Friday evening.
It is being held by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Ken Ellcome and will be raising cash for his charities; the Elizabeth Foundation for young children with hearing loss and their families, the Headway brain injury charity and Veterans Outreach Support. Cllr Ellcome said: ‘This is a chance to hear a very special man tell an amazing story.’
To book tickets for the black tie occasion, go to eventbrite.co.uk and search ‘Simon Weston Portsmouth’.