Thousands of model soldiers are coming to Lichfield as part of a campaign to highlight the plight of servicemen and women forced to leave the military due to injury.
Figures from Help for Heroes reveal that almost 40,000 people have left the military over the past 20 years – with more than a quarter of these since the end of the war in Afghanistan.
The charity’s research has also shown that 70% of wounded veterans describe their medical discharge as “negative” with more than 60% saying they didn’t receive enough support as they transitioned away from military duty to civilian life.
Some 5,000 model soldiers – created as part of an initial display of 40,000 to highlight the Help for Heroes report – will be at the Three Spires Shopping Centre on 8th February.
The charity’s area fundraising manager, Rhys Edwards, said Lichfield would be an iconic location for the display given the city has a population of around the same size as the total of medical discharges in the past two decades.
“Injuries have ended 40,000 military careers in 20 years and every day this number grows.
“Many of them tell us that their transition impacted significantly on their health, wellbeing and family.
“The medical discharge process is seriously failing those who are let down by major inconsistencies in support, so we’re calling on the Government to commission an independent review of the process to close those gaps.
“With the public’s support, we’re on a mission to ensure every wounded hero has the best opportunity to stand strong in civilian life.”Rhys Edwards, Help for Heroes
The 5,000 miniature soldiers will be available to view between 9am and 5pm on 8th February.
People can also purchase a special edition boxed figure to support the campaign. For more details visit the Help for Heroes website.