Help for ex-soldiers

A former British Army soldier was lost for words when his family was assisted by the UK Armed Forces Charities yesterday.

Peni Tikomailepanoni of Nukuloa Village in Ra and his family, lost his mother, Makelesi Matea, 54, and their three-bedroom timber home when Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston hit the country in February.

Mr Tikomailepanoni’s family was among the 10 families of UK soldiers to receive assistance.

He said they had not started rebuilding their home in Nausori.

The organisation has gifted $200,000 to families of soldiers affected by the cyclone

“This is of great assistance. We are very grateful to them for helping us. I never dreamt that we would be assisted by the British Government but I am thankful,” Mr Tikomailepanoni said.

“These funds will be very helpful to us. We are receiving government assistance but that has not been as fast as expected.”

Royal British Legion (Fiji branch) chairman Ratu Meli Vesikula said these families would be assisted according to the extent of damages to their homes.

Meanwhile, British High Commissioner to Fiji Melanie Hopkins said the military links were an important part of bilateral relationships.

“What this shows is that when there is a natural disaster or a problem, there are friends in the UK willing to reach out to try and work with partners on the ground to make a difference,” Ms Hopkins said.

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