Sailors from HMS Illustrious reunite to raise more than £1,000 for Falklands Veterans Federation and Royal Marines Charity

SAILORS who once served in HMS Illustrious have reunited to hold a fundraiser in support of two charities to aid veterans and serving members of the naval service.

By Hollie Busby
Wednesday, 4th May 2022, 5:25 pm
Updated Wednesday, 4th May 2022, 5:26 pm

About 60 people including the ‘Lusty Lads’, who served on the light aircraft carrier warship between 1982 to 2002, took part in a day of fundraising to raise cash for the Falklands Veterans Federation at Gosport and The Royal Marines Charity.

The ex-servicemen dedicated the event to marking the 40th anniversary of the Falklands War through holding a raffle, an auction selling off reunion cupcakes and an Illustrious year book, with music and a buffet on April 23 at the Royal Maritime Club in Portsmouth.

£1,100 was raised to support the charities, with £550 going towards each organisation.

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Sailors from HMS Illustrious reunited to raise cash for charity

Dave Smith, an ex-navy officer who served in HMS Illustrious for 10 years, said: ‘Because it was the 40th anniversary of the Falklands, I decided that we'd have a raffle and we did an auction as well and some guys bought some of the prizes and auction items.

‘It's been absolutely amazing. It was an absolutely amazing amount of money that I was absolutely thrilled to have managed to raise.

‘I remembered all the people from my time on there but some guys didn't know other people because they were on there at different times.

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Sailors from HMS Illustrious reunited to raise cash for charity.

‘There's over a 20-year gap between some of the people who were on the ship and some guys on in the ‘90s didn't know the guys in the ‘80s.’

Two previous reunions took place with veterans in 2017 and 2019, however because of Covid-19, they’ve just held their biggest reunion in the last couple of years.

This event saw ex-crew members hail from ‘all parts’ of the British Isles and even Canada.

‘It started with a few of us sitting in the club having a chat and it became a Facebook group,’ said Dave.

‘There's about 300 of us and it's mainly engineers. [The club] really look after us and the staff are brilliant there. We had a buffet. There was music, I gave an opening speech and they had the tables set up.’

The group are all ready planning their next reunion in September with 40 people set to attend so far.