MP’s honour for veterans

Andy Burnham presents military veteran lapel badges and framed certificates to left Donald Farrington and right John Ward at his constituancy office in Leigh.
Andy Burnham presents military veteran lapel badges and framed certificates to left Donald Farrington and right John Ward at his constituancy office in Leigh.

TWO globe-trotting Leigh ex-servicemen were rewarded for services to their country after being presented with veterans’ badges by Leigh MP Andy Burnham.

John Ward, 72, from Lowton, and Donald Farrington, 81, from Leigh, were given the HM Armed Forces Veterans’ Lapel Badge in a ceremony at Mr Burnham’s constituency office.

Mr Ward served in the Royal Navy for nine years from 1957-66, while Mr Farrington spent three years in the Army Military Police while on national service, from 1951-3.

Mr Farrington spent his service years in Singapore and Malaysia, and says he remembers them as the best experience of his life.

He said: “At the beginning of my service a sergeant and an officer came to the barracks and asked if anyone would like to join the military police. I thought it would be something different, so I said I would.

“We did all kinds of things, from guarding the buildings where senior captains and brigadiers were having meetings, to patrolling the red light district.

“We also went up into the jungle where the fighting was taking place, which was thrilling. The jungle was so thick it was unbelievable.

“It was lovely to get my veterans badge, and I felt I had done my job and my duty to the country. I was also impressed by what Mr Burnham had to say.”

Mr Ward was also given the choice of doing national service, but he opted to sign on full time and receive the full wage rather than national service allowance.

He worked as a leading radio electrical mechanic (LREM), visiting 20 countries in 18 months on one memorable stint in South-East Asia and Australasia, before training as a wireless operator.

He said: “It was a great experience, and I’d still recommend the services today, though you don’t get as much travel and many of the navy stations have now closed. We visited Hong Kong, Indonesia, Australia, India, all over the Far East.

After being discharged at the end of his national service, Mr Farrington remained on the reserve list for many years while returning to his previous work at an iron foundry in Leigh, while Mr Ward left the Navy and re-trained in atomic energy,

Anyone who has served in the Forces is eligible to receive the lapel badge, which was introduced to raise awareness of Britain’s former servicemen.