Formal Opening of Liberty Lodge
An opening ceremony took place on 3 February 2009 and Liberty Lodge was opened by Air Commodore Gordon
Moulds MBE, Commander British Forces, Falkland Islands, who served in the Falklands during the War in 1982,
assisted by John Perrens and witnessed by His Excellency The Governor of the Falkland Islands, members of the
Falkland Island Government, Derek 'Smokey' Cole, CEO FVF, Tony Davies OBE, (Chairman, FVF), Russell
Thompson OBE, Royal British Legion's Director of National Events and Fundraising and our many sponsors in the Falkland Islands.
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Opening Speech - Derek 'Smokey' Cole, also in frame Tony Davies OBE &
Russell Thompson OBE - Director
of National Events and Fundraising - Royal British Legion
Air Commodore Moulds MBE
& John Perrens
Air Commodore Moulds MBE
& John Perrens
Derek 'Smokey' Cole, CEO FVF
presenting gift to John Perrens
at Liberty Lodge
The above five photos were supplied by 'Norman Clark Photography, FI'
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Comments by Visiting Veterans
"On my arrival I was met by the Lodge Manager, Ellen who was very welcoming and my first impression was that I had known
her a long time as she made me feel very much at home. It's not until you actually stay in the Lodge do you realise how
magnificent a building it is, the construction is superb and it has to be given its location, the fixtures and fittings
are of a very high standard. It's clear a considerable amount of thought (and expense) went into the contents of the Lodge.
The rooms are very large and fitted out like a 5 star hotel, the bathrooms are of the highest quality and the living room area
reminds me of very best Sergeants/Officers Mess with the leather sofas. The kitchen also deserves a special mention as it contains
everything you need and again I was impressed by the quality of the fixtures and fittings.
My return to the Falkland Islands was mainly driven by the opportunity to go back and pay my respects to those who made
the ultimate sacrifice in defence of the Islands and by doing so protecting the way of life of the inhabitants. During
the war I never had the chance to attend the funerals, however I have now said my final farewell. Without the Lodge and the
assistance of the FVF this would not have been possible and in addition, to get to spend a week in luxury was an added bonus.
I have already booked up to attend next year in August 2016 and have organised another 6 Veterans to come. This will be their
first visit and they, like me, will be extremely grateful they have the opportunity to return and confirm what we have all been asked
many times "was it worth it?" YES."
L/CPL Jim McLachlan 30th Signal Regiment 1982
"Just to let anybody know who hasn't yet taken advantage of the Indulgence system, it is a great way
to go and visit the Islands. Had a great time down there, which at times was very emotional. Things I
had forgotten came to light and memories came flooding back.
The Lodge is amazing .... It is Sanctuary, it is warm, comfortable and well looked after.
I don't know if it was the Lodge or the fact that I was in the Falklands but for the first time in years
I managed to sleep without nightmares. I would just like to thank everyone involved in making my journey
and stay such a memorable part of my life."
A/B(M) RFA Sir Percival 1982
"When myself and fellow veterans Jim Foster and Wayne Rees first decided to do the walk for Combat Stress,
I knew that returning to the site of the battles would have a devastating impact on me. Once we visited the
graves not just of the British soldiers, but of those on the Argentine side too, and the places where friends
of mine died, the memories came flooding back and it became quite overwhelming. I must admit returning to the
Islands has confirmed my own belief in the conflict. I gave a talk about how, since the end of the conflict,
I had questioned whether the war was worth it. However, having gone back again, spoken to the Islanders, seen
the transformation in places like Port Stanley, it was clear to me that it was a just cause and the sacrifice
of the 255 British servicemen who died was not in vain.
Our re-visit to the Islands also gave us the opportunity to
visit Liberty Lodge which is a fantastic facility devised to benefit veterans and their families who visit the Islands.
The facilities on offer at the Lodge are of an excellent high standard which will make visitors stay all the more relaxing and
enjoyable. I felt, not only is this an attractively decorated Lodge it also provides breath-taking views with it being
situated high on the hill overlooking the harbour. The location is perfect which also allows easy access for the visiting
veterans and their families to the centre of Stanley. I believe that the Lodge will provide an excellent opportunity
for the veterans and the people of the Falklands to build a rapport. Liberty Lodge is a great asset for all veterans
and the FVF must be congratulated for making the project happen and integrating the Lodge into the Port Stanley community."
Tony Banks, 2 Para