LAST month, the Government announced that the TA was to temporarily halt all training due to budget cuts. However, after great public outcry, they were forced to reconsider.
I welcomed their u-turn as this sad affair shows how out of touch it is to think that that the TA is anything less than indispensable. At a time of year when we commemorate with pride those who have so faithfully served our country – often making the ultimate sacrifice – we need to be celebrating how, through good times and bad, the Territorial Army has given this country a proud 101 years of service.
Our local West Midlands TA is no exception. Indeed, Sylvia Parkin, a Major in the West Midlands Territorial Army, has recently been invited to the Armistice Day tribute in Westminster Abbey to mark the death of Britain’s last surviving First World War veteran.
Since 2002, reserve forces have contributed some 20,000 personnel to operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Balkans, most of them from the Territorial Army. Fourteen Territorials have died on those operations and today there are approximately 550 Territorials serving on the frontline in Afghanistan and dozens more continue to serve in the Balkans and other places across the world. Beginning in April 2010, approximately 250 Territorials will deploy as part of the British contribution to the United Nations Forces in Cyprus, known as OP TOSCA.
I think it is great that ‘Tickets for Troops’ has been launched to recognise all this sacrifice. This new initiative has been initiated to recognise and thank the Armed Forces for what they do for us. Tickets for Troops is a not-for-profit organisation whose purpose is to secure the donation of tickets to major sporting and cultural events around the country, from top football and cricket matches, and concerts…perhaps next it will be tickets for PMQs!
The tickets are made available to all serving members of HM Forces, as well as to all those medically discharged from the Forces since the commencement of military action in Afghanistanin 2001.
Eligible applicants are simply required to donate £1 in return, to the benefit of a variety of UK service charities.
To apply for tickets, simply go to www.ticketsfortroops.org.uk.