Interview By Patrick Hill
Pictures By Brian Moody
His energy and honesty after suffering horrific injuries in battle made him one of the emblematic figures of the Falklands War.
Thirty years on, Simon Weston yesterday told how he had finally found peace at home following the birth of his first grandchild.
The 50-year-old former Welsh Guardsman, who was left with terrible burns by an Argentine bomb, said the arrival of Zak six months ago had made his life complete.
Mr Weston admitted he was surprised and a little daunted when his son James, 20, an engineering student, told him his 21-year-old girlfriend Almanita Yip was pregnant.
‘But as soon as I saw Zak, that was it,’ he said. ‘I loved him as soon as I set eyes on him. These day I can’t be with him enough.
‘He is the best thing that has happened to our family for a long time. He already seems to know me and bursts into smiles whenever he sees me.’
Simon Weston was only 20 when an Argentine jet dropped a 1,000lb bomb on the ship Sir Galahad, killing 48 British servicemen and wounding more than 150 as they waited to disembark on the Falklands. He required more than 70 operations and multiple skin grafts.
After the war, he won praise for speaking about his battles with post-traumatic stress disorder, which at times left him suicidal in what he described as disappearing under a ‘veil of darkness.’
He was made an OBE for his charity work after setting up a foundation for disadvantaged youngsters named Weston Spirit, and campaigned tirelessly for better treatment for injured troops.
Mr Weston and his wife, Lucy, have played a full part in babysitting to allow James to continue his studies at Cardiff University. Following his own experiences, Mr Weston would be reluctant to see Zak follow a military career when he grows up.
‘I have to admit that I would hope not, but of course the decision would be up to him,’ he said at his home in the Welsh capital.
Mr Weston said his grandson has helped ‘reunite’ his entire family after a tricky time with his younger son, 18-year-old Stuart.
‘Like any parent of teenage children, there comes a time when you find yourself at odds with them.
‘He had decided to drop out of school and really didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life. Many parents will be able to identify with our feelings. Of course there were arguments. But since Zak has been born, it’s as though the whole family have come back into the fold.
‘Stuart has decided to go back to school and make something of his life because he didn’t want to be an uncle who was on the dole.
‘He is back on course and both he and his 14-year-old sister Caitlin are besotted by Zak. ‘This baby has really brought everyone back together again.’
Published in Daily Mail
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