THIS is going to be a very special and very poignant Christmas for Tenbury couple Richard and Pam Jones.
On Christmas Day Richard and Pam will be 8,000 miles from home in the Falkland Islands where they will spend the holiday on the island that they have bought in memory of their son.
Craig Jones was the final British serviceman to be killed during the 1982 Falkland Islands conflict.
Last year Richard, 75, a former mayor of Tenbury and his wife Pam, 73, bought the small island that they have named Craig Island.
This week they travel to the South Atlantic to spend Christmas close to where their son died just hours before the end of the conflict.
Although both Richard and Pam have visited the Falklands before, this is the first time they’ve been together.
“It will be very special being able to be there at Christmas,” said Richard.
“But it will also be poignant because we will be saying goodbye to so many friends that we have met over the years.
“Time passes and we are not getting any younger.
“This is going to be the last time that we will go to the Falklands.”
While some memories fade for Richard and Pam the day that they learned of Craig’s death could have been yesterday.
Having heard that the war was over they had been out celebrating only to return home to find a car outside their home and two officials from the Ministry of Defence waiting to tell them that their son had been killed in the final advance on the capital, Port Stanley.
During his two years as mayor Richard raised money for Combat Stress – a charity that helps servicemen and women suffering from mental illness.
The importance of the work of the charity is made all the more clear by the fact that since the end of the conflict in 1982, more people who fought to recover the Falklands have died at their own hands than were killed by the enemy.
During their time away, the Jones’ family home in Tenbury is being borrowed by friends the couple met in the United States, who are spending Christmas in the Teme Valley and welcoming Pam and Richard back for the New Year.