Fleetwood ex-service group meet Princess Ann at festive veterans’ party

It was a day to remember for six ex-servicemen and women from Fleetwood when they attended a special Christmas party with Princess Ann.


Marianna Proietti and son Anthony Finch at St James Palace

Marianna Proietti and son Anthony Finch at St James Palace

They were among the invited guests at The Not Forgotten Christmas Party at St James Palace in London.

The Not Forgotten Association is a national charity which organises events for wounded serving personnel and disabled veterans, which helps improve their physical and mental wellbeing.

Two of the charity’s annual events are a summer garden party and a Christmas bash at St James Palace.

Fleetwood ex-servicewoman, Marianna Proietti, has connections with the charity and co-runs a social and wellbeing group for ex-service people in Fleetwood, the Fylde Coast Veterans, set up by wounded ex-serviceman Rick Clement of Fleetwood.

She was able to take five members of the group down to London to attend the event – and introduced them all to Princess Ann, who is a patron of the Not Forgotten Association and an active supporter.

Among those attending the party was one of the oldest veterans from the Normandy campaign in the Second World War.

Marianna, 51,of Medlock Avenue, was in the Royal Army Medical Corps for 15 years and saw service in Germany, Gibraltar, Cyprus and the 1991 Gulf War.

She said: “The Christmas party was a great experience for all of us.

“I was a bit nervous introducing everyone to Princess Ann but she has a great way of putting people at their ease.”

The Fleetwood contingent attending the event included Marianna’s son, Anthony Finch, 21, who has just finished his Phase 2 training with the King’s Royal Hussars.

Also attending were ex-service people who are part of Marianna’s Fleetwood group – Ivor Bould, 80, formerly of the Royal Army Medical Corps; Kevin Gray (ex-Royal Artillery); Adam Haigh (ex-Royal Artillery); and Andrea Mealor (ex-Royal Corps of Transport).

The Fylde Coast Veterans’ activities include meeting every Monday at 10.30am for a seafront walk and a cup of tea or coffee, either at the Ferry Cafe on The Esplanade in Fleetwood if the weather is poor, or at the Marine Hall car park of the weather is fine.

New members are welcome to join them.