A MEMORIAL to fallen soldiers in the Vale received an official ceremony this week on the 40th birthday of the Royal Marine whom it commemorates.

Royal Marine Commando, Paul Williams, died on a training exercise in 2012 after his boat capsized.

After his partner’s request to get his name installed on the town’s cenotaph was rejected, a memorial to commemorate him and every fallen soldier in the Vale of Glamorgan was erected in December.

“It was a bit of a battle. I couldn’t understand why the Vale of Glamorgan wouldn’t let his name go on the cenotaph.

“There are no laws against it and the names of civilians are already on the cenotaph.

“I started a petition and campaigned for ages, then I decided to make my own memorial.

“In the end the Vale of Glamorgan were really supportive, and we couldn’t have done it without them.”

The Vale Council rejected Sian’s request because her partner did not die in combat.

However, they donated £7,500 to the new memorial and provided a space for it in the Garden of Remembrance.

Around 70 people gathered in the Garden of Remembrance on Tuesday for an official ceremony.

Those in attendance included members of the armed forces, veterans, families of fallen soldiers, South Wales Central AM David Melding, and Vale of Glamorgan mayors.

A Last Post bugle call was performed and three standard bearers were present.

Sian gave a speech at the event. She said: “Today is a day we never thought would happen. We have fought tirelessly to get Paul recognised within his community and we have finally done it.

“Nine years of serving for his country, tours of Afghanistan and Iraq, peace keeping in Sierra Leon to be tragically killed in a boating accident in the UK. We were crushed as a family.

“We have had to rebuild our lives, find a sense of purpose, and keep Pauls light shining.

“Paul was a special man and he, along with all our fallen heroes, deserve to be remembered every single day.”

The bronze and stone statue was designed and built by Swansea-based sculptor Martin Williams and took 9 months to design and construct.

Sian raised £17,500 to build and install the memorial in Alexandra Park.

“I am so proud of how it went,” she said after the ceremony.

“The memorial unveiling was incredible. It was such a beautiful day and so many people came to support it.

“We are so grateful for all the support, love, and donations that have gone into making this memorial a reality.

“It was nice to see all the town mayors, the Vale of Glamorgan Mayor, Councillor Christine Cave, and David Melding AM.”

Since her partner’s death, Mrs Woodland has also set up multiple support networks. In 2017, she established Woody’s Lodge in memory of Paul to support veterans, emergency services, and their families.