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War widow and branch secretary of Darlington Royal British Legion to launch region's Poppy Appeal
A WAR widow who lost her husband to a bomb blast in Iraq has spoken of her pride at being chosen to launch this year’s Poppy Appeal for the North-East.
Sharon Turton, 40, of Darlington, said her involvement in the appeal is a way a keeping her husband's memory alive.
Kris Turton died in Iraq in 2007, alongside 24-year-old Corporal Ben Leaning, when their armoured vehicle was hit by a bomb blast.
Mrs Turton said she was "honoured" to be invited by the Royal British Legion to this evening’s (Friday, October 25) launch event at Bamburgh Castle to press the button to project a giant illuminated poppy onto the building.
Mrs Turton, whose husband was 27 when he died, has been the secretary of the Darlington branch of the Royal British Legion for the last year.
She said: “I was shocked that they asked me but I am extremely proud and honoured.
“Obviously I am heavily involved in the British Legion, but I am also a war widow and in a way my involvement keeps Kris’ memory alive.”
Trooper Kris Turton joined The Queen's Royal Lancers in the summer of 2003 and was based at Catterick Garrison.
Mrs Turton, who would have been celebrating her ninth wedding anniversary with Kris on Sunday, described him as a dedicated soldier who loved the army.
She added: “He knew the dangers, as did I when I married him, I knew that one day he might well go to war and that is the risk you take.”
Mrs Turton became involved in the Royal British Legion four years after her husband’s death and through her association with it, and groups such as the Army Widows’ Association, she formed friendships with others going through similar experiences – including Cpl Leaning’s mother.
Mrs Turton said: “There are so many more people out there now that have lost their husbands, sons, brothers.
“It does get easier, but I don’t think a lot of the families know that the British Legion is there to support them as well.
“It is not just for veterans.”
Mrs Turton added that it is more important than ever to support the Poppy Appeal as the centenary of the First World War draws near.
“Next year is the 100th anniversary of the First World War,” she said.
“The last ‘Tommy’ has gone; there are no more surviving veterans of that war so it is down to future generations and today’s serving soldiers to carry on their legacy.
“By becoming involved in the British Legion Poppy Appeal we are helping to keep their memory alive, and supporting the soldiers of today’s wars.”
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