Our News

29 March 2012

Students commemorate the Falklands conflict

It was once a dance floor. Now it is a memorial and tribute to each of the dead of a conflict that took place 30 years ago in April.

Apprentices from Cardiff and Vale College reclaimed the wooden floorboards from a project they are involved with and transformed them into a cross for each of the 258 British military and civilian dead from the Falklands conflict. The 14 students were given a list of names to make the crosses for, ensuring the project became very personal and a source of great pride.

Each cross will be fitted with a plaque for each of the fallen and will be used in a memorial ceremony at the Rock Falklands memorial in Alexander Gardens in Cardiff on Armed Forces Day, June 30th. They will then go out to Memorial Wood on the island itself where they will be attached to trees planted for each person killed.

The Welsh Branch of the South Atlantic Medal Association (SAMA) 82 has had close links with the College’s Cardiff Construction Training Centre for several years. It approached the CCTC to ask if its students would like to do something to mark the anniversary.

When 14 students on the Pathways to Apprenticeships Carpentry Course were working with local firm R&M Williams on a project to restore Penarth Pier, they hit upon an opportunity. Part of their work involved stripping out the dancefloor from the old Pier Pavilion.

“The idea for the crosses came before the Penarth Pier job came up – that provided us with the perfect opportunity to make something sustainable by reusing the wood,” Construction Lecturer Steve Young said. “The timber we used was going to be skipped but we asked for it, and the extra wood will be used to make picture frames to raise money for the charity. 

“The students were given a list of 19 names of people and each cross has been made for a person who was killed during the Falklands conflict – they know their names so it has become very personal for them.”

The project was built into the Welsh Baccalaureate community participation element of the students’ course. It also informed personal skills, personal and site safety and sustainability elements of their study at CCTC.

The students all took the project to their hearts. Seventeen-year-old Macauley Richards from Cardiff said: “We did all the work as a class. It was a way that we could show our respect by making these crosses for people who lost their lives during the Falklands. I feel very proud to be a part of it.”

Stefano Colucci, 16 and also from Cardiff, added: “I felt honoured in making the crosses. I was proud to make them because it shows respect for people who lost their lives. We had 19 names each, so each cross we made was for a different person. It was not just like a normal project where you make one then bang the rest together. It made you think about each person and you showed respect and we spent time on the work to make sure each one was done right.”

CCTC Manager Kevin Robinson said: “Over the years CCTC’s students have participated in many work experience ventures, creating a wide range of meaningful projects. This year has been exceptional – the students were able to meet the demands of several qualifications and partake in a very worthwhile cause.

“I am proud to be able to say that our students have produced 258 crosses for the upcoming Armed Forces Day, commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Falklands conflict. This symbolises the trust and faith SAMA 82 (Wales) has put in our hands.

“The commitment by all 14 of the PTA students involved to produce these crosses from salvaged wood has been exemplary; they are a credit to the Centre and the Construction Department and produced a finished product worthy of the obligation.

“The students involved have represented us and have shown SAMA 82 that their trust was deserved. Well done to all involved, especially Mr Young.”