On Monday, Alan Peskett will be taking a trip to the Falkand Islands on an RAF cargo plane.
But the 54-year-old Navy veteran from East Preston will not be travelling alone: because in the hold will be another military representative with a special mission.
The wooden Army soldier, made by the Littlehampton & District Men’s Shed West group and funded by The Littlehampton Armed Forces and Veterans Club, will be gifted to the Falklands
Veterans Foundation charity in Stanley, the islands’ capital, on June 14: the date in 1982 when the Argentinians ended their military occupation of the Falklands.
The soldier, carved in the Parachute Regiment uniform and stood on a plinth, will stand proud in Liberty Lodge, the charity’s accomodation for Falklands veterans, for years to come.
Mr Peskett, who is a member of the veteran club’s breakfast group, said he was ‘really quite moved’ by the gesture and was proud to take it with him. He said: “The camaraderie between the Armed Forces you can’t explain to anybody unless you have done it; I can’t even explain it to my wife.
“The Falklands changed my life; I was 17 when I was down there and it is something on my mind every day.”
It was in 1982 when Mr Peskett was drafted out to the islands off the Argentinian coast – his first after completing his training.
As part of the Navy’s 20-strong communications team on the merchant Cable Ship Iris, he would help transport troops, stores and mail between the Falklands and Ascencion Island thousands of miles to the north.
He also recalled travelling to a whaling station in South Georgia island to the east of the Falklands for sheet steel to fix ships damaged by bombs in the war.
The statue was made by Roy Amos, who has collected for veterans’ charities for 20 years. He said: “Everyone must do something for the veterans, because they have done so much for us.”