For those who are too young to remember or don’t fully know about the Falklands War have a look at this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falklands_War
I was 16 years of age when the Falkands War broke out, it was a big part of my life as my brother was in the Parachute Regiment and it was a very worrying time for all our family. To this day I can still reel off my brother’s Army number without a pause for thought. The reason I can do this is because during the South Atlantic Conflict and way before sky news, the only way to get information about your loved ones was by telephone. You would hear on the news that there had been casualties during the many battles on the Island and John Nott, Secretary of State for Defence, would announce which of our incredibly brave Armed forces have been involved. A number would appear on screen and you were asked to call in if you had family members in those particular parts of our military. My mother was too scared to call so I had to do it. This is why I can recall his army number.
My brother returned to us and we are forever grateful but many did not and we must always remember the price that was paid by so many.
Fast forward two decades later and I am now chairman of Weston super Mare RA preparing for a monthly meeting to start and a new face walks in to our meeting. A very smartly dressed man with a slight Welsh accent (Don’t hold that against him) says “hello I’m Dave Ricketts and we have a chat.
I was struck by his very polite, quiet but professional manner. I had no idea I would become close friends with him and I would also be his referee coach as a level three ref. He was a serving police officer and we laughed a lot about a scouser being such good friends with a copper.
Dave would retire with an injury from refereeing after just missing out on football line by a couple of places. He was incredibly fit and still looks far younger than he actually is. ( I do hold that against him thou).
It was a while into our friendship that the Falklands War was mentioned. This was after Dave mentioned he was going to a Reunion. I was a little shocked as he had not mentioned he was involved in the South Atlantic conflict but those who know Dave will understand that being one of the nicest lads you could meet he just wouldn’t think it was that much of a big deal. Typical of many of those unique men and women who served our country.
Dave knows how proud I am of him, my brother and all of our armed forces so when he told me he was going back to visit the Falklands with some of his fellow Guards, I asked him to do a blog about his journey. Many refs are in the armed forces, many veterans are referees and I am sure there are many others who served our country in times of War. I feel giving them a chance to share their journey would be not only a very interesting insight but also one that may help those who abuse refs to understand that they may be shouting at a real life hero.
Dave will send his Blog when he has a WIFI connection on the island and we will publish it on our website.
We wish Dave a safe trip and look forward to his up dates.
Dave wouldn’t call himself a hero but I would defo call him one.
Before Dave flew to the Falklands tonight he posted this message on his face book page.
“Close to 38 years ago I sailed to the Falkland Islands leaving Southampton on the QE2 on May 12th. Thankful to SAMA/FVF for the opportunity to return to the islands to pay respects to fellow comrades who gave their lives during the conflict. Looking forward to a great trip 🇸🇭”