Soldier’s mum urges ‘Show your support on Armed Forces Day’
Last updated at 19:42, Thursday, 28 June 2012
The mother of fallen Workington soldier Danny Wilson is urging people to take time to honour the sacrifices of servicemen and women as the town marks Armed Forces Day tomorrow.
But Paulina McDowell hopes people will remember that the pain of losing a loved one or the danger of serving in a war zone is a daily reality for thousands of forces families.
Paulina, 55, of Wastwater Avenue, has faced that daily pain since her 28-year-old son, a member of the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, was killed by a sniper in southern Iraq on April 1, 2007.
When she joins the crowds in Workington town centre for tomorrow’s parade, he will be at the forefront of her mind, along with her father, former soldier Arthur Armstrong, who died two years ago to the day.
Paulina said: “He served in the King’s Own Border Regiment in Burma. Danny always wanted to follow in his pop’s footsteps.”
The heartache of losing her son is with Paulina and her family, including Danny’s brothers Steven Wilson and Kevin and Richard McDowell every day.
She said: “Sometimes the pain is less than other days but when it comes back as a wave, as I call it, there’s nothing that can overcome it.
“It’s hard to accept because you still think they’re going to walk back through the door.”
It means a great deal to Paulina to see people who did not know her son turning out to pay their respects to him.
She said: “It means that he hasn’t been forgotten. It’s nice to see that his own generation turn out and remember. It’s not just about Danny; it’s about all the other people who have been taken.
“Although Danny’s the most prominent for our town, it’s about remembering everyone everywhere. It’s also to remember the ones who are still fighting and still in danger.”
Kingsman Wilson’s memory lives on in his son Leo, seven, who still remembers his father and writes cards for him.
But Paulina said she knew she was one of hundreds of mothers dealing with the same sense of loss.
She added: “When you hear the news that another one of our countrymen is lost it opens up wounds and brings it all back.
“We know exactly what the family is going through.”
Paulina said she was pleased that Workington was marking Armed Forces Day and said Lesley Jackson and Pat Lavin, who organise the parade and associated events, did a brilliant job.
She added: “I attended the first Armed Forces Day parade in Workington in 2010 and I was very moved by it.
“There are a lot of people in the town who have lost loved ones in wars but when it comes home that it’s so recently that the town has lost one of its own, it’s painful.”
She also welcomed the efforts of people like Maryport man Ryan Winthrop, of the charity Support Our Soldiers, who sends out shoeboxes full of gifts to servicemen and women.
A procession, led by the North Tyneside Pipe Band, will march through the streets of Workington from 11am tomorrow.
It begins at Pow Street, goes down Finkle Street and Vulcan’s Lane and on to the monument in Vulcan Park, where Canon Bryan Rowe, of St Michael’s Church, will lead a service.
The parade will then head down Oxford Street to the Royal British Legion in St John’s Court for lunch and an afternoon tea dance.
The evening entertainment will begin at the legion at 7.30pm.
All money raised from the day will go to the Workington Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.
Mrs Jackson said: “We just want the people of Workington to put their support behind the forces. If it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t be here celebrating. We want anyone who is in the forces or who has family in the forces to come and join us.”
Earlier this week, a flag-raising ceremony took place.
Anthony Holliday, lieutenant commander of Whitehaven Sea Cadets, led a short procession including civic dignitaries, cadets, British Legion members and armed forces veterans, across the Allerdale House car park to the council’s flagpole.
Carole Armstrong, Allerdale mayor, gave a speech and Canon Rowe said a prayer as the flag was raised by Andrew Lawson, Workington mayor.
Albert Moffat, 92, of Princess Avenue, Seaton, who served for six-and-a-half years in the army and saw action in World War Two, was one of the veterans who attended.
First published at 19:24, Thursday, 28 June 2012
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
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