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Bampton mum to hold vigil in protest at Army cuts
THE mother of a trainee Oxfordshire soldier will stage a vigil over planned military cuts next week.
Lorraine Faulds wants to highlight the strong feeling in the county against the defence cuts, announced earlier this month.
The vigil is part of a co-ordinated nationwide campaign against Ministry of Defence cuts, on Tuesday.
It will take place at Church Green, Witney, and 20 yellow balloons will be released to signify the 20,000 soldiers whose jobs will be lost.
People are urged to arrive at 10.45am and the balloons will be released just before 11am.
Mrs Faulds, 36, said: “The reason for the vigil is that the cuts affect so many different families in so many different ways.
“The soldiers being given the axe are the more experienced soldiers, coming home having just fought for their country and being told they are not needed any more. It’s absolutely awful.
The mum-of-two decided to organise a county protest over concerns for her 17-year-old son Kieran Faulds and his comrades’ future.
Kieran is just a few weeks away from graduating from Army training college.
Earlier he learned both of the two regiments he wanted to join, 2 Logistic Support Regiment and 8 Regiment, of the Royal Logistic Corps, will now be disbanded.
And 23 Pioneer Regiment, at St David’s Barracks, Bicester, is another casualty of the cuts.
Mrs Faulds, from Bampton, whose daughter Rhiannon, 11, wants to follow her brother into the forces, said: “It has been a long road for him, tough at times.
“They go there as lazy teenagers and get modelled into shape for what the British Army wants.
“A career in the Army was for life and suddenly that has been taken away from them.
“It’s getting to the point where you have to ask is the Government thinking of the future or just thinking we have got to save money?
“If they are going to cut the number of soldiers by the amount they are planning, they are going to put us at risk.
“Wembley Stadium fits 90,000 people. After the cuts the entire British Army could fit in there and there would still be 8,000 seats left over.”
The MoD declined to comment on the planned protests, but reiterated its reason for making cuts.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has said: “After inheriting a massive overspend from the last Government, we have had to make tough decisions to implement our vision of a formidable, adaptable and flexible armed forces.
“After a decade of enduring operations, we needed to transform the Army and build a balanced, capable and adaptable force ready to face the future.”