A CELEBRATED war veteran, who has dedicated his life to helping others overcome obstacles, opened a festival in Chester.
Former Royal Welsh Guard Simon Weston, who suffered 46 per cent burns to his body when his troopship was destroyed by Argentine Skyhawk fighters in the Falklands War in 1982, spoke at the launch of the University of Chester’s diversity festival.
The theme of this year’s festival is ‘Fighting for a cause’.
Following his injuries, the Welshman’s long and painful road to physical, spiritual and mental recovery has seen him involved in a number of highly successful charitable ventures and be invited to speak at events across the UK.
Mr Weston spoke about overcoming adversity and the importance of a positive mental attitude, as well as his experiences of being in the public eye over the last 30 years.
One of the festival organisers, Kathryn Leighton, said: “The vice-chancellor introduced the event and gave an arresting speech regarding the role of the university in helping to shape society through educating a diverse and diversity minded student body.
“He celebrated the successes of past festivals and was pleased to launch the ninth annual diversity festival, as an opportunity to innovate and collaborate through generous discussion, inspiring speakers and reflection upon our own identities.”
Co-organiser Natalie Clark said: “Simon was a truly inspirational speaker.
“Everybody without exception said how much they enjoyed the event, with many saying he was the best speaker we have had at the diversity festival in our nine-year history.
“His story, insight and humility was breath-taking, sometimes devastating but ultimately uplifting as he showed how he had overcome adversity to change others’ lives and moved to love the person he is now, alongside the young man that set off to the Falklands. He went beyond just giving an outstanding speech though, as he graciously spoke to everybody who attended, patiently had photos taken and entered fully into the spirit of the event.
“I couldn’t recommend him more highly as a speaker and also as a hugely personable, modest and generous man.”
The university’s diversity festival runs until March 14 and all events are open to the public.
Sessions are free but booking is essential.
Visit www.chester.ac.uk/about/diversity-and-equality/diversity-festival for the full festival programme and booking information.