This weekend marks Remembrance Sunday 2023, 105 years since Armistice Day in 1918 brought an end to the First World War and 78 years since VE Day.
It is important that we continue to pay tribute to those brave service men and women who fought bravely for our freedom during the First and Second World War and later conflicts. We will never forget the sacrifice that they made for our future. Many people in Barnsley will take this opportunity to remember loved ones who have served or are still serving in our Armed Forces.
Remembrance Day is an opportunity to pay tribute to those who have fought in the past, like my grandad in World War II, and also to those involved in more recent conflicts, like those fighting in Ukraine and the people caught in the conflict between Israel and Hamas. Whether through direct conflict or in other ways, our Armed Forces are essential in keeping us safe.
As part of the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal, I was happy to join Peter Ackroyd to sell poppies at Tesco in Hoyland. The Poppy Appeal has been recruiting volunteers and raising funds for service personnel, veterans and their families for over 100 years. Thank you to everyone who made a donation.
There will be remembrance events taking place this weekend across Barnsley, including wreath laying, church services of remembrance and much more for people to pay their respects.
In Parliament, I placed a memorial in the Garden of Remembrance on behalf of the people of Barnsley East, having asked for nominations from local people.
As someone who has been a long-standing supporter of our Armed Forces, previously as a Shadow Defence Minister and currently as Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Veterans, I have raised a number of issues in Parliament over the last year. From Continuing to press the Government to award medals for nuclear test veterans to mental health support for former service personnel.
I was pleased to campaign for action on Veterans UK, which has led to a Government inquiry into veterans’ welfare services. It is welcome that the Government have committed to this review, but they now need to deliver the support that veterans deserve.
Paying respect to our brave service men and women can look different to everyone, and might be public or private, as part of the community or as an individual. Thank you to all past and present service men and women for everything you have done for us.