Caroline Dinenage, local MP for Gosport, has returned after a week spent in the Falklands as part of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme. This popular and long running scheme provides MPs with the opportunity to experience military life first-hand and strengthen connections between serving men and women and their representatives in Parliament.
During the week Caroline spent on the islands, she was subjected to a gruelling schedule of marches and training, as well as performing various duties on board the Type 42 destroyer, HMS York. The whole experience has had a profound impact on the Gosport MP and has provided her with first-hand knowledge of the life of forces personnel in the field.
An exhausted Caroline spoke about her experiences upon her return, exclaiming ‘It’s been such a rewarding opportunity to experience the duties of our forces personnel on deployment. I’ve always had the utmost respect for our armed forces but a week on the islands, marching for miles, sleeping exposed to the elements, all the while being expected to maintain the highest of standards, has reaffirmed just how incredibly hard they work to keep us all safe. Spending a week away from my family has also shown me just how much they are asked to give up too; being away from my husband and two children for just a short time was incredibly tough for me personally, but those on the front-line are asked to do so for months or even years at a time. As the wife of a Naval Officer, I also know what effect this can have on the families that are left behind'.