Call for bank holiday to honour armed forces

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ANOTHER bank holiday would be a perfect way to honour Britain’s servicemen and women, according to a campaigner from Fleet Hargate.

Sharon Shortland has set up an online petition calling for the Government to approve a national day to recognise the vital work carried out by our armed forces.

She says she came up with the idea after discussing the issue with friends and hearing about another e-petition on the radio.

Mrs Shortland said: “This is about thinking that most people do not have to worry about things. They can sleep in their beds and do what they want to do.

“But that’s because another family is going through that worry for them while their loved ones are away and there may be another set of parents who have lost their child.

“It’s about remembering them.”

Mrs Shortland has suggested the holiday could be held in October – away from the earlier bank holidays – or tie into Armistice Day on November 11.

If she manages to gain 100,000 signatures, the issue will be eligible for debate in the House of Commons.

She said: “There has been a few stories about how people in the armed forces are treated and it’s rotten when they are fighting on our behalf.

“This could make people think a bit more.”

Mrs Shortland’s family have experience of life in the armed forces, with her late father, Gerard Dillon, having served with the Royal Engineers in Africa, Poland and France during the Second World War.

Her brother-in-law Nigel Shortland also served with the Royal Air Force during the Falklands War.

She added: “It’s about recognition. Yes, we have Armistice Day and I can remember whatever day November 11 fell on everyone used to go silent for two minutes.

“Over the last five years, that does not seem to happen any more and I can see it being forgotten as time goes on.”

So far, 22 people have signed up to support the petition.

Anyone who would like to sign the petition should visit http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/4075.