Former soldier on campaign trail

Military campaigner and former paratrooper Royston Brett
Military campaigner and former paratrooper Royston Brett

A former soldier from the borough is getting on his bike to show support for an ex-serviceman who was controversially jailed for murder.

Golborne veteran Royston Brett is spending a week raising awareness of the Justice for Marine A campaign around the North West.

Royal Marine Sergeant Alexander Blackman

Royal Marine Sergeant Alexander Blackman

Protestors are attempting to get the 2013 conviction of former Royal Marines sergeant Alexander Blackman for killing an injured Taliban insurgent in Afghanistan reduced to a lesser sentence or overturned entirely.

Royston has given his backing to Blackman’s supporters and is running his own awareness drive, which started in Wigan town centre, just before the case returns to court in London for an appeal.

He said: “A lot of people don’t think he should be in jail. In my personal opinion he was just doing his job. War is war.

“I think there were a lot of things not taken into account at his trial and as someone who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder myself that concerns me.

“I know what it’s like to be in a war situation and I don’t think he should have been given a life sentence. A lot of veterans are supporting him from across the armed forces, it’s not just Royal Marines.

“Hopefully this week will bring a bit of extra publicity and will also be a show of support, letting him and his campaign know there are people in the North West who are thinking about them and who care.

“For me this is just another reason why we should support our soldiers and why we should stick together.”

Royston’s cycling tour of the region carrying the Justice for Marine A flag takes in Preston, Leigh, Bolton, Bury, Rochdale and Chester, culminating in a large rally of campaign supporters at Salford Quays on January 17.

He said the ride is a good way of supporting the cause at the same time as doing training for his own fund-raising cycles for a variety of veterans’ issues which will take place throughout 2017.

For more information about the campaign, visit www.justiceformarinea.com