In 2005 my brother, Sergeant Bob O’Connor, was killed when his Hercules plane crashed in Iraq.
It was a devastating time for me and my family. Like many families whose loved ones were returned to RAF Lyneham, we had the need to say our most private and intimate conversation hidden from the world. Many families do this in the Chapel of Rest.
It is a quiet, reflective place where families can say their first words to their hero since they last saw them alive, offer a touch, recall a memory cocooned from the world before they embark on their final journey, often through Royal Wootton Bassett.
Without telling any of the bereaved families, the MOD has decided that the Chapel will be demolished.
They have told us that it’s “just a building” and that it is a “temporary structure” which has to “make way” for new buildings.
This building has become far more than that for the families who have needed to use it. This is about the legacy of British service people who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
I’m calling on the MOD to keep that chapel of rest, to keep that place of sanctity. It has been called a safe haven by bereaved parents, it has been called a sacred place.
Please join me in urging the MOD to review this decision.
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