Simon Weston OBE (born 1961) is known throughout Britain as the soldier who suffered horrific injuries during the Falklands War and subsequently became an inspiration to those with similar injuries.
Originally from Nelson in the South Wales Valleys, he joined the Welsh Guards in 1978 and experienced the typical round of British army postings - Northern Ireland, Germany and a spell in East Africa.
When Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands in 1982, Simon Weston sailed for the South Atlantic with the task force hurriedly assembled to recover the former British possessions.
He was with 3 Company of the Welsh Guards on the afternoon their virtually undefended troopship Sir Galahad was bombed at low level by four Argentine jets. Stocks of petrol stowed on board magnified the fireball that engulfed the ship.
For the British, it was the most disastrous episode of the war. Thirty-three Welsh guardsmen were among the fifty-one soldiers and sailors who lost their lives. Simon Weston suffered terrible burns to half his body.
The circumstances surrounding the attack on the Sir Galahad that day at Fitzroy have been the subject of much controversy, but he has never been unduly interested in the apportioning of blame.
Instead he began the long and painful journey back to normality, movingly chronicled in the television documentary series Simon’s War. It was a stark lesson in the human cost of conflict as he endured operation after operation to repair the physical damage.
The programmes won him countless admirers, fame that he has used to the advantage of others. Founded in 1988, The Weston Spirit has helped nearly fifty thousand underprivileged youngsters.
He is the author of two autobiographical volumes and a thriller - 'Cause of Death' and is much in demand as broadcaster and motivational speaker.
With his downbeat modesty and good humour, he sets a supreme example of how to take whatever setbacks life has in store for you. Unlike most brave soldiers, Simon Weston’s heroism did not begin until his army days were done.
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