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Falklands veteran Simon Weston OBE to speak at Rochdale’s Armed Forces evening

Press release   •   Jun 03, 2014 13:35 BST

Falklands War Veteran Simon Weston OBE will be the guest speaker at a special event in Rochdale later this month, held in the run up to this year’s Armed Forces Day celebrations.

‘An evening with Simon Weston OBE’ will be staged at the town hall on Tuesday 24 June aimed at business leaders across the borough, looking at the work of Rochdale’s Community Covenant so far, and the transferrable skills of ex Armed Forces personnel.

Councillor Alan McCarthy, Lead Member for the Armed Forces at Rochdale Borough Council, said the event will show businesses how they can make a positive difference:

“The event will be highlighting the benefits that ex- Armed Forces personnel bring to employers and how we can all better support our military community. We are privileged that Simon Weston will be joining us … he is motivational and inspirational. Simon’s own life and career demonstrate how a positive mental attitude can achieve great goals, both in business and in private … and I am very much looking forward to seeing him.” 

During the evening Simon, who was badly burned when his ship Sir Galahad was attacked, will share his story, talk about his life and convey his message of single-minded determination.

Despite horrific injuries and the physical and mental suffering they caused, Simon Weston’s life is an example of personal triumph and courage. This year he topped a poll conducted by Freuds Communications as the Nation`s Favourite Hero.  His autobiography, ‘Walking Tall’, was a Number One bestseller. His irrepressible humour, infectious enthusiasm and engaging personality have made him one of the most popular speakers in the country. 

As well as the keynote speech from Simon, there will be short presentations from the Ministry of Defence and other Armed Forces experts.

The event begins at 6.30pm on Tuesday 24 June and is free to attend, but places are limited and must be booked in advance. Book online at

“The military have all made great sacrifices for their country and it is right that we do all that we can to embrace them into our community.”

Added Councillor McCarthy.

Armed Forces Day itself follows a few days later on Saturday, 28 June.  The day helps raise public awareness of the contribution made by those who serve and have served in Her Majesty's Armed Forces and gives the nation an opportunity to show support for the men and women who make up the ex-services community.

The council signed the Armed Forces Community Covenant in 2012 – a statement of support between a civilian community and its Armed Forces community.  But actions speak much louder, and Rochdale has been nationally recognised by the Ministry of Defence, Royal British Legion and others for introducing pioneering changes to better support armed forces personnel and their families back into civilian life.

The Armed Forces Community Covenant

Since signing the covenant Rochdale Borough Council has:

  • Appointed Councillor Alan McCarthy as Lead Member for the Armed Forces and he’s been instrumental in driving forward the changes, lobbying central government and pushing for policy changes to address disadvantages Armed Forces families face.
  • Introduced a ‘guaranteed interview scheme’ – where ex-armed forces men and women looking for work are guaranteed a job interview at the council providing they meet the person specification and job description and have been out of the Armed Forces for a minimum of six months.
  • Launched dedicated web pages to help Armed Forces families access support and a toolkit to help other councils improve the Armed Forces presence on their websites.
  • Rochdale offers serving armed forces personnel and veterans free use of Link4Life fitness facilities and swimming pools.
  • Offered the families of fallen service personnel who have died in active duty the chance to have a street named after their loved one. 
  • Via Rochdale Boroughwide Housing, supported veterans in obtaining housing within the borough. 
  • Launched a ‘Books on Prescription’ scheme, providing self-help books for the Armed Forces and their families.
  • Other examples are available on request.

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