PAU­PER’S GRAVE FOR WAR HERO

Friends plan to buy head­stone for vet­eran badly hurt in Falk­lands

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Front Page - By ADAM UREN

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.

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