For the eighth consecutive year, the Not Forgotten Association, with the full support of the Bulletin and the local community, will be bringing groups of British forces veterans to Majorca. These are veterans who have been wounded in action, some extremely seriously, and will come to the island for some well-deserved rest and recuperation or a simple change of scene.
Starting at the end of this month, at least three groups will be coming to the north-east of the island, where a generous British resident and leading artist some eight years ago offered the Not Forgotten Association, the only tri-party forces charity in the UK, the use of her finca.
Most of the groups have been victims, some extremely serious, of more recent theatres of action such as Gulf War II and Afghanistan, but the first group this year includes veterans from the Falklands War, Northern Ireland and Iraq I. Their units are the Paras, the Royal Marines, Royal Engineers, Royal Irish Rangers and 1 Royal Scots.
Many will have never met before but, as always, they put their regiments behind them and once they have taken off from the UK and have landed in Palma, they are a band of brothers looking forward to enjoying Majorca. In the past, groups have used the trips for strenuous training for charity expeditions such as climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, canoeing the Zambezi (a double leg amputee), marathons, etc. However, this slightly older group is coming on a painting week under the guidance of their host, coincidentally a world leading artist. Since the charitable initiative began, the local community on the island has rallied round helping to provide entertainment. Margaret Whittaker OBE invites them to a night out at Son Amar, a highlight of the week, local bars and restaurants lay on special meals while water sports and other activity centres help to make sure the men and women have a well-earned break and a breath of fresh air with fellow forces colleagues.
Rosie Thompson, the events organiser for the charity who never stops making sure wounded veterans are entertained and are given the opportunities to continue enjoying life, says: "All have served and taken a ‘knock’ in one way or other with various injuries and illness, all service related. They have all been overwhelmed with the kindness shown to them in Majorca, and these regular trips we organise to the island have become extremely popular, especially with those who are still undergoing rehabilitation and other medical treatment, be it physical or mental, in the UK."
Founded in 1920, although records were lost in a fire following an air raid in 1941, the association can be reasonably confident that since its formation about one million serving and ex-service men and women have benefited from its activities.
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