Wrexham athlete's keeping memory of Falklands hero alive

Reporter:

Andrew Boyd

A YOUNG man will use the memory of his war hero uncle in a fundraising challenge.

Wrexham Athletic Club member Shane Hughes, 15, will take part in this year’s Walk on Wales challenge to support Welsh soldiers and veterans.

His uncle Neil Hughes, of Rhostyllen, was killed during the Falklands War when serving as a Welsh Guardsman.

Neil’s name will be on the baton being led on the relay walk along the 870-mile Wales Coastal Path, with a day of the walk to be dedicated to his memory.

Although Ysgol Rhiwabon pupil Shane never knew his uncle, he has stressed how much he wants to celebrate his memory and war contribution when he walks a 15 mile stretch in one day.

Shane, the son of one of Neil’s three brothers, Kevin, said: “Walk on Wales is so important to me, particularly because I imagine like many others walking, I get to walk in my Uncle Neil’s memory and help those in need now.

“My uncle died several years before I was born and I’m sad that I never got to know him.

“What I do know about him though, and there are a lot of stories and photos, come from my dad and grandmother.  They are both excited about me taking part for such a brilliant cause.”

Neil died, aged 22, when the Argentinians bombed the Sir Galahad in June 1982.

Each year, Shane and family attend a Falklands reunion in Wrexham for a ceremony of remembrance.

In 2010, Neil’s mother, Patricia Hughes, collected the Elizabeth Cross award in recognition of his courage during the Falklands War.

With Shane looking at joining the RAF and aware Falklands veterans have previously complained of having had very little support, he said: “I’d like to think that I’d have a support network if I experienced problems in the future. Doing things like Walk on Wales is a great way of giving support.

“I can’t wait to start walking”.

Walk on Wales will see 11 relay teams walk the coastal path, with the walk having started on Sunday in Cardiff.

At the heart of the walk is a silver baton, inscribed with the names of the 50 Welsh Guardsmen who lost their lives in armed conflict since the Second World War.

Each day Walk on Wales is dedicated to one of the names inscribed on the baton.

Shane is taking part on Saturday, September 7, the day dedicated to Neil.

Like his late uncle, Shane has proved himself to be an adept sportsman and has won medals at the Welsh Athletics Championships.

Walk on Wales runs until November 2 and seeks to raise £1m to support Welsh Guardsmen and their families.

For more details on Walk on Wales visit www.walkonwales.org

l THE chair of Flintshire Council, Cllr Carolyn Thomas, is taking part in the Walk on Wales tomorrow.

Cllr Thomas will be joining  veterans to walk the Wales Coast Path from Flint to Prestatyn.

Cllr Ron Hampson is also joining the walk, taking in Flint Castle, Talacre Beach and the Gronant dunes before arriving at Prestatyn.

He said: “The county council is very supportive of our Armed Forces – as we have shown this summer with our Armed Forces Day, the parade through Flint to mark the anniversary of granting the Freedom of the County to the Regiment of the Royal Welsh, and the recent signing of the Flintshire Armed Forces Community Covenant.”

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