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Keynote speaker Edward Denmark is the author of two bestselling books: one on his experiences in the British military, and the other on his experiences growing up in poverty. He has spoken on national television a number of times and is frequently interviewed on BBC radio regarding military matters.
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When alcohol addiction took control of his Mother’s life, it became a fight for Edward to survive the hunger, bullying and misery which surrounded him as a child growing up in extreme poverty. Remarkably, he still found moments to laugh and be happy. In order to escape the past and seek adventure, Edward joined the army, where he did not find escape, but faced a hardship and terror beyond anything he imagined. His military journey took him to the 1982 Falklands war, as well as to Northern Ireland fighting the IRA.
His is a journey of contrasts, from utter sorrow and sadness to hilarious escapades, which captivates and inspires audiences. Let the resilience and positivity Edward needed to deal with crisis after crisis inspire you to tackle your own challenges, while teaching you about the reality of war and poverty.
This talk covers Edward’s action in the 1982 Falklands war where he served as an anti-aircraft missile operator. It tells of the bitter filthy conditions in which he and his comrades fought, and what it was like to come under air attack day after day, with vivid descriptions of British ships being bombed and sinking, and men losing their lives, to the desperate fight to survive each day. Edward eventually returned home a completely changed man and was never the same again. This talk focuses on the reality of war, it is not a child-friendly description that sugar coats the fear and vulgar attitude needed to live and fight.
This talk covers Edward’s time serving as a soldier in Northern Ireland as part of the British government’s response to sectarian violence that erupted in 1969 and only ended in 2007 after the death of many thousands of people. The most viable threat came from the Provisional Irish Republican Army (The IRA) who carried out many ruthless attacks against British soldiers. Edward and his comrades also had to contend with daily petrol bomb and brick attacks from the nationalist community who supported The IRA. The streets of Northern Ireland were some of the most dangerous places on earth for British soldiers and the threat of death was ever present each and every day. One disturbing incident occurred that nearly ended his life, and which no training could have prevented.
This talk covers Edward’s childhood growing up in a council house in a family of 12 in extreme poverty and with a mother addicted to alcohol. What was it like to live in a house that was dominated by addiction, to go without food? He had to steal to eat, had to go to school feeling hungry and looking scruffy, was bullied for his scruffy appearance and didn’t know which way to turn. Eventually, in his teens, he watched as his mother’s addiction take the ultimate price. And yet, in all this sadness, desperation and poverty, he somehow remained resilient and found time, as children do, to laugh. Find inspiration in the stories of Edward’s life and how he has overcome adversity.
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