Weʼre raising £45,000 to fund THE LABALABA STATUE MEMORIAL PROJECT in memory of Sgt Talaiyasi Labalaba BEM, MID.
- Hereford, UK
- 13 days to go
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THE LABALABA STATUE MEMORIAL PROJECT
Sergeant Talaiyasi Labalaba BEM, MID, 22 Special Air Service (SAS) was born in 1942 and raised in the village of Vatutu, Nawaka in Nadi, Fiji.
He was recruited into the British Army in 1961, in Fiji and joined the Royal Ulster Rifles (RUR). He passed SAS selection in 1966 joining B Squadron and quickly earned a reputation as an outstanding soldier.
In 1970 he was preparing to return to Fiji after nine years of service when by chance, he met B Squadron group in Bahrain on its way to Dhofar to begin Operation Storm.
Laba rejoined the squadron, once again proving himself a stalwart during operations. He was powerfully built and could carry heavy loads. He also had perfect eyesight which perhaps, included the ability to peer into the future. In late 1971 he confided to friends that he would not return from the next Dhofar trip.
So it was, that after his thirtieth birthday he fell beside his 25 pounder artillery piece in the Battle of Mirbat, on 19th July 1972.
In 2012 he was accorded a rare honour; Talaiyasi Labalaba was one of sixty individuals to be known as the ‘New Elizabethans’ celebrating sixty years of HM Queen Elizabeth’s rule.
It is indicative of the esteem in which Laba is held, that a life-sized statue was commissioned and stands outside the Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess of 22 SAS in Hereford, unveiled by HRH Prince William the Duke of Cambridge.
The aim of the Labalaba Statue Memorial Project is to fund, commission and erect a life-sized statue of Sergeant Talaiyasi Labalaba BEM MID RUR, Royal Irish Rangers and 22 SAS in Fiji.
The project concept lead is the undersigned; Sekonaia Takavesi DCM who served with Laba and fought by his side at the Battle of Mirbat supported by friends in the UK and worldwide.
The target for unveiling is early November 2018.
The statue will be erected in Nadi, in the vicinity of Nadi International Airport, where Laba hails from originally. Nadi International Airport is the gateway to Fiji.
To commemorate a ‘New Elizabethan’ and a warrior son of Fiji, the antecedent Regiments of the Royal Irish Regiment (1RIRISH) and 22 SAS, who lost his life in a most gallant manner, in service of the Crown.
Laba will be taken home in effigy to be received by Na Momo Levu Na Tui Nawaka (The Paramount Chief of Nawaka in Nadi) and his people as a long-lost son, in an appropriate and dignified manner, where he can be seen and remembered by all who visit Fiji and the people of Fiji.
Laba represents the very best of all the Fijians who have left their homeland to serve the Crown in the Armed Forces of the UK. The statue will help re-affirm the close links between Fiji and the UK.
The intent is to raise the required level of funding, from major donors, personal contributions and fund-raising activities to deliver the Project with an estimated cost of £45K; for the cost of the statue. It is recognised that there are additional Project costs estimated at £25K to deliver the Project in totality – a total estimated cost of £70K.
Na Momo Levu Na Tui Nawaka has been engaged and will lead on the reception and protocols in accordance with the traditions of Fiji. The Prime Minister of Fiji has been engaged and supports the Project.
You are invited to support the Labalaba Statue Memorial Project and your consideration is much appreciated.
Sekonaia Takavesi DCM
The Labalaba Statue Memorial Project Lead
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Sekonaia Takavesi started crowdfunding
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Aug 20, 2018
Aug 20, 2018
Tak,That is a great idea.
Aug 20, 2018
A veteran of Dhofar and past inhabitant of Marbat
Aug 13, 2018
Respect to a true legend.
Aug 10, 2018
Fantastic idea and I’d a great memorial to represent every Fijian that has served in Her Majesty’s forces. Vanuinui vinaka & Meda Dau Doka
Aug 4, 2018
Fabulous idea for a true hero
Aug 2, 2018
What a fantastic gentleman and great cause. Supporting all the way. The Ravuwai family in UK
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