Remembrance Sunday: Aberystwyth veteran pays for memorial lights

Aberystwyth war memorial lit up
John Davies stepped in to ensure Aberystwyth's war memorial was lit

A war veteran has paid out of his own pocket to light up a war memorial for Remembrance events.

John Davies, 39, from Aberystwyth, said it was about giving those who had lost their lives the respect they deserve.

It has cost Mr Davies, who served in Afghanistan, about £3,500 for the lights and PA system around the town's war memorial.

Ceredigion council said issues with their own lighting system would be repaired "as soon as possible".

Wales' national observance of Remembrance Sunday is taking place from 10:30 GMT at the Welsh National War Memorial, in Cardiff, with First Minister Mark Drakeford in attendance.

Services are also being held in Llandudno, Bangor, Powys, Swansea, Wrexham and elsewhere to commemorate those who lost their lives in conflict.

John Davies
John Davies says he places a lot of pride in the war memorial after losing a "very close friend" while at war

Mr Davies, who joined the Army in 2011 and served in the Royal Welsh, has provided a generator, lighting system and PA system for use during the memorial ceremony and parade.

"Maybe I show a bit more pride towards it, because I am a veteran, I lost people in my tour, one of them was very, very close friend of mine and it's a day of remembering them."

The former fusilier said the current site was in "dire need of work".

"Nothing has been modernised and I think this year, because the memorial is 100 years old this Sunday, this is the time, this is the day it needs to be done."

Mr Davies says a number of local companies contributed to getting the lighting and sound system working

He said it was a "one off" from him, and this was a 12-month grace period for the council to "get up there and do the repairs" to the existing lighting.

"It needs to be modernised to attract the younger generation, so they learn about it," he said.

Why do we wear poppies?

In the days leading up to Remembrance Day it is common to see people - out and about or on TV - wearing a poppy.

But why do we wear them?

Launched by the Royal British Legion in 1921, poppies were chosen as they are the flowers which grew on the battlefields after World War One ended - as described in the famous poem In Flanders Fields.

According to the charity, poppies are worn "as a show of support for the armed forces community".

What do different coloured poppies mean?

The red poppy belongs to the Royal British Legion, and commemorates those who sacrificed their lives in World War One and all the conflicts that have followed.

The BlackPoppyRose commemorates the contributions of black, African and Caribbean communities to the war effort - as servicemen and servicewomen, and as civilians.

Black poppy rose
This black poppy, honouring black veterans, was worn by King Charles on a state visit to South Korea on Thursday

The purple poppy is worn to remember animals that have been victims of war - with proceeds of sales going to charities including World Horse Welfare and the Household Cavalry Foundation.

The white poppy is handed out by a charity called Peace Pledge Union, which promotes peace.

Ceredigion council said: "Regrettably, we have recently encountered some issues with the lighting system around the war memorial which requires significant investment and upgrades.

"This will be undertaken by a suitably qualified company as soon as possible so that future events will once again benefit from the ability of the Council to recognise those who sacrificed everything for their country."