Liberty Lodge - Falkland Islands

Don't know if you're aware but this place has just opened in Port Stanley which offers free accomodation for veterans of the conflict who wish to visit. I've copied the text from elsewhere with the posters permission and a link to the photos of it.

Recieved this from a family that I stayed with when I went back for the 25 year aniversary. Alison attended the opening of Liberty Lodge which is a free lodging house for returning veterans to the Falklands.

Good evening

This has been a very special week for Stanley, with the opening of Liberty Lodge, a ‘home from home’ for returning veterans able to make use of the indulgence flights. It started off with the newly-formed Falklands Veterans Foundation circa 2000, then some years later SAMA 82 came on board, and then in 2007 the Royal British Legion waded in with a very significant donation (following a knock-back from the National Lottery) which encouraged other service charities to chip in. The building work started in early spring (ie. August), the works were completed early last week, the furniture went in mid-week, and the first guests arrived on Saturday for a week. Jason is one of many locals who has helped out (he set up their computer and connected it to broadband) while I was one of many who provided home baking for today’s public opening.

Last night at 5pm was the actual opening ceremony. I was thrilled to be invited, I think because the invite list was drawn up in the UK, and I have advised Smokey Cole on land, property, legal, tax, immigration and related issues from the outset. There were many people locally who had done far more, like the builder’s men, but unfortunately numbers were very limited. I didn’t understand why until I got there....

The evening was cool and overcast but calm and dry, which was just as well, as we met outside at 5pm for drinks. This was followed by the dedication from 5.30 to 6pm, which included a short service, some speeches, and the formal unveiling of the entrance stone (its a small monolith with a plaque set into it) by the 8 year old who won the school’s competition to name the house. We then went inside for canapés, followed by more speeches and presentations, followed by an informal and utterly delicious fork supper at 8pm. The atmosphere was wonderful, the food was great, the wine never stopped flowing, and everyone stayed forever, chatting and mingling.

The crowd was small (50 at most) and eclectic – about 50% locals (only one councillor plus HE The Governor and none of the usual senior civil servants) including mostly the people who have worked so hard to organise various events such as transport maestros Gus and Paula (and their 3 month old baby), a few serving bods from MPA who were either here in 1982 or had fathers/brothers/husbands who were, and 4 visitors from the UK (Smokey Cole, Tony Davies, Malcolm the ex-RSM, and the British Legion’s civilian director of fund-raising).

Liberty Lodge itself is built on the extreme eastern edge of Stanley, only 3 minutes from our house. It is a 5 minute walk in one direction to The Chandlery, which is trying to take over from the West Store as Stanley’s best supermarket, and a 5 minute walk in the other direction to convenience store K4 and The Narrows bar (probably the nicest in town, apart from the Lounge Bar in the Malvina Hotel). It is situated on a prominent hill-top position with fabulous views over the harbour.

The building is single-storey, traditional timber-kit construction with timber-clad walls (honey stained) and metal –clad roof (dark grey). So far the grounds haven’t been landscaped, but that will come. There are two flagpoles outside, not sure if they will fly the Union Jack and the Falklands flag, or if they will fly various service flags. Inside there is a massive lounge, a very large dining-kitchen, a separate utility area, 3 very large en-suite bedrooms (each with two single beds and a double sofa-bed), an office, and a small flat for the manager.

The manager is a local woman, Anya Cofre, age 42 I think (Ron and Dave will know exactly who I mean!). Her father John Smith is a local historian and author of “72 Days”, his diary of the war. Anya herself featured in a very prominent photo of two young girls welcoming soldiers which was widely circulated in UK newspapers at the time of Liberation. She is married to an ex-Scots guard (now a fishing agent) and they have 3 teenage children. Anya has worked enormously hard to co-ordinate the official opening last night and the public opening today, and especially to get the house ready for the first visitors on Saturday.
Madam, may I invite you to display your decolletage for the delectation of the Gentlemen here present.

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