A COMMUNITY of British veterans has been sewn together by a Falklands islander who is thankful for their service during the war.

Falklands islander Rachel Simons was 11 years old in 1982 living in Stanley, the capital throughout the Falklands War.

Grateful for the freedom afforded to her by the efforts of British servicemen against the Argentine invaders, she decided to give back.

In 2017, whilst recovering from hip surgery, Rachel, who now lives in Carlisle, took up crochet.

She crocheted a scarf in the colours of the ribbon on the South Atlantic Medal and gifted it to a veteran of the Falklands War. The South Atlantic Medal was given to British military personnel who took part in the campaign.

He was moved to tears by the gesture which motivated Rachel to crochet more of the scarves for Falklands veterans.

Inspired by Rachel’s idea, others are carrying the torch for Falklands veterans, knitting the scarves and giving them to British veterans of the war.

She said: “Last year it got so big that I started a Facebook group and then it just erupted. We’ve made up over 1400 scarves now for these amazing guys.”

The campaign is ran through the Scarves for Falklands Veterans Facebook page where the public are notified when more are available.

They are free, designed to be a gift for a Falklands veteran, all the team ask is that postage and packaging is paid for.

Whilst posting the scarves out to those who served in the undeclared conflict, the team are also supporting the Falklands Veterans Foundation Charity.

Rachel said the scarves are starting a dialogue for veterans who may have never spoken about their experience.

She said: “One of the guys said to me ‘when I put the scarf on it gives me permission to talk about it’

“Some of them have never spoken to their friends or family about it” she said.

It’s giving them recognition in a way they haven’t been recognised before.

The Falkland Islands War lasted from April 2 1982 until June 14 1982.

Britain lost 255 soldiers in the 10 week conflict, Argentina lost 650 lives, half of which came from the sinking of the Belgrano.

Britain captured 11,400 Argentine prisoners, all of which were released at the end of the conflict.

The idea of crocheting the colours of the medal in a scarf for veterans has evolved.

The team are now giving away hundreds of beanies and many other woolen items in those same colours.

It is a major campaign in 2021, veterans are spotting each other on the street, understanding the significance of the colours and feeling a sense of oneness.

Veterans wore their scarves to an annual meet-up before Covid-19, Rachel and Falklands War British servicemen gather at The Turf in Carlisle to eat, drink and recount stories of that short but intense conflict.

They visit the war memorial the following day in a moment of solidarity.

Despite Covid-19 restrictions putting the meet-ups on hold, veterans can feel a sense of togetherness by wearing their scarves.