PAUPER’S GRAVE FOR WAR HERO
Friends plan to buy headstone for veteran badly hurt in Falklands
A VETERAN who risked his life in the Falklands lies buried in an unmarked grave after losing a battle with cancer.
Former Royal Marine Alun Walker was buried in an unmarked plot by Fenland District Council last Friday, because his relatives could not be traced and there was no cash for a headstone.
But regulars at his local pub, the Bricklayer’s Arms in Whittlesey, have launched a fundraising drive to buy a headstone for his last resting place.
FRIENDS of a dead Falklands War veteran have been spurred into action after discovering the man who risked his life for his country had been buried in an unmarked grave.
Former Royal Marine Alun Walker (57) was among the casualties of an infamous moment of the Falklands War, the sinking of the British Sir Galahad landing ship, which was attacked by Argentinian aircraft on June 8, 1982.
Mr Walker, of Delph Court, suffered shrapnel wounds to his legs that affected him for the rest of his life.
Mr Walker died in March after a battle with cancer, but it took three months for his funeral to be organised as no blood relatives could be found.
With the help of Fenland District Council, a funeral was arranged and held with an honour guard from the Whittlesey Royal British Legion Branch.
But there was no money to spare for a gravestone. Among those in attendance were staff and customers from the Bricklayer’s Arms, in Station Road, who had grown close to the veteran since he moved to the town 14 years ago.
They have resolved to raise the £2,400 needed to buy Mr Walker a gravestone and ensure his contribution to the armed forces is not forgotten.
Landlady Catherine Jackson said: “After everything that has happened to him in the war, the last thing we want is for him to be buried in an unmarked grave.
“He helped us raise money as part of our Help for Heroes fundraising, but we think he was a hero as well.
“We don’t think anybody should be buried in an unmarked grave, but especially not a soldier who has fought in wars for his country . We felt we had to do something to make sure he is not forgotten.”
The pub needs to raise £412 to buy the burial plot from Fenland District Council, while the stone itself could cost around £2,000.
So far £320 has been raised, £200 of which has come from a very generous anonymous donor.
Staff at the pub are planning a darts marathon to raise cash, which will continue until the target is reached.
Mrs Jackson added: “Alun was very well liked by everyone at the pub and, though you could see he was still troubled by his leg injuries, he still got involved in our fundraising committee for Help for Heroes.”
Local members of the Royal British Legion, based at the Ivy Leaf Club, in Gracious Street, Whittlesey, are backing the fundraising drive.
Branch secretary Wally Newman said: “We were more than happy to give Mr Walker a Guard of Honour at his service and a flag draped over his coffin.
“From what we know of his history, his father was a soldier in the Second World War and, though Alun did not initially want to follow in his footsteps, he did eventually join the forces.”
Anyone wishing to donate should call Catherine on 01733 202593.
NOT FORGOTTEN: A simple plaque with his name spelled incorrectly is the only thing that marks the grave of war hero Alun Walker (far left). Now friends, including Gary Pacey (left) are planning to raise funds to buy a headstone.