Falkland Islanders are hoping to mark the 40th Liberation anniversary with a year of events that both commemorate the liberation of the islands and look to their future, the Chair of the 40th-anniversary committee told Mercopress this week.
Phyl Rendell MBE said, ‘obviously it's all about commemorating those who sacrificed their lives for the Falklands and gave us our liberation. But we also want to showcase the modern Falklands and what has been achieved in the last 40 years and that there's a good future going forward.
‘Our strap-line is “Looking forward at 40”, so really it's about celebrating as well as commemorating: celebrating what we've managed to do in the Falklands and the achievements of everybody, from government to the private sector and the future for young Falkland islanders. That's really what we're trying to get across throughout the year.’
Mrs Rendell told Mercopress that events will be held over the course of the year, with the 40th anniversary acting as an umbrella theme for a wide range of functions and community events: ‘Rather than just pinpointing the key anniversary dates we want to run a bit of a theme through the year and make it a bit of fun for people, specially younger people. It's been a tough time with the pandemic and even though we have been blessed in the Falklands at not having any virus in the community, I think people have felt very isolated and still feel very isolated now, so I am hoping that we can have quite a few light hearted events with the 40th theme through the year.’
Possible clashes with events in the UK may also mean that some dignitaries and guests are not able to visit during the key anniversaries of the conflict, Mrs Rendell added: ‘We would be looking at dignitary visits spread throughout the year. June isn't the best time for people to come here, it's winter and there's so much going on in the UK, particularly next year for the 40th, they're probably already booked up to go to some of those events and they’ll be more interested in coming later or earlier in the year,’ she said.
In addition to organising specific 40th anniversary events, the committee will also look to bring in existing events under the wider 40th anniversary theme, Mrs Rendell said: ‘What we are trying to do is link up with all the organisations that normally plan things and see if we can support them and add to our 40th theme through those events, starting off with the raft race at the beginning of the year, sports and so on, and finishing in December with the traditional battle day and public holiday. We'll probably make that the last event of the year.’
As well as marking the 40th anniversary of the 1982 conflict, 2022 will also be Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee, the 70th anniversary of her accession to the throne. The committee has therefore also been tasked with determining how that can be celebrated in the Falklands, and those celebrations will be tied in with 40th anniversary events.
Mrs Rendell said the committee has an active volunteer list and is keen to hear from people in the Falklands who are willing to help out: ‘As we get nearer to the start of 2022 we'll need quite a lot of sub-committees to organise things, so we're very keen to get as many people as we can, and we want to hear from people as to any ideas they've got.’