Widow’s salute to soldier hero

Reporter: by Andrew Rudkin
Date published: 02 July 2013

A WAR hero will be remembered on a special day in his honour.

Close friends and family alongside service personnel will pay tribute to Sgt Michael Pavitt with a parade in his home town of Royton.

The father-of-three, who served numerous tours with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME), died from cancer three years ago.

The soldier, affectionately known as “Pav”, was due to finish his military career in March, 2011, with 22 years service under his belt — but was then faced with his biggest battle in February, 2010, which he sadly lost five months later at the age of 46.

The morning ceremony on Sunday, at the Life For A Life memorial community forest, in Salmon Fields, will see standard flagbearers salute Sgt Pavitt alongside a lone piper. A memorial tree will be planted and the words on a plaque on a dedicated picnic bench will be read out by his widow Andrea — who will be joined by their children Lewis (19), Leonie (17) and Charly (12) and his parents Charlie and Sheila.

Communities are then invited to a family charity day called “Party for Pav” at Royton Cricket Club at 1pm following the service — with live music and entertainment, food and children’s rides.

Andrea, of Sherwood Way, High Crompton, said: “It will be an emotional day, but a special day that Pav really deserves.

“It will be quite a formal service in the morning and as a family we are overwhelmed that service personnel can be there to remember him.

“Pav was always up for a laugh and a kind man who had lots of friends — but he was ultimately a family man.

“He always loved a good party and we hope the event at Royton Cricket Club will be exactly that in an area he grew up and loved.

“It is coming up to the third anniversary of his death this month and what would have been his 50th birthday, so we felt this was a great way to honour his life and to recognise his long service for his country.”

Sgt Pavitt, who served in Bosnia, Kosovo, Cyprus, Northern Ireland and the Gulf, was working in the Army Careers office in Liverpool, recruiting the future generations of soldiers when he was diagnosed with lung cancer.

Andrea, his wife of 16 years, added: “When he had completed his 22 years service we were planning a new life in Australia.

“It was heartbreaking to see someone so physically and mentally strong deteriorate in such a short space of time.”

Funds raised from the charity day will go towards the REME Benevolent Fund and towards the costs of the memorial tree and bench.

Capt Eddy Hardaker, of Oldham, who will attending the event, said: “I am honoured to be a part of the service to remember Sgt Pavitt and the memorial site will be a lovely place for his family and friends to reflect.

“Plus the memorial forest is a great location for all military families to reflect.”

Any local businesses willing to help Sgt Pavitt’s family with raffle prizes on the day are urged to donate to drop-off points — Peace, Love and Cake, in Royton, Renaissance, in Shaw and Shaw Tyre and Exhaust.

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