James Ashworth’s dad to be guest of honour at Victoria Cross Trust event

Duane Ashworth who received the Victoria Cross conferred on his late son, Lance Corporal James Ashworth, at Buckingham Palace, with his other son Coran
Duane Ashworth who received the Victoria Cross conferred on his late son, Lance Corporal James Ashworth, at Buckingham Palace, with his other son Coran

The father of hero soldier Lance Corporal James Ashworth is to be the guest of honour at the first annual conference of the Victoria Cross Trust.

Duane Ashworth, a patron of the trust and father of Lance Corporal James Ashworth VC, will be one of several speakers at the conference on September 5, at the Union Jack Club, Southbank, London.

L/Cpl Ashworth, of Corby, was awarded the Victoria Cross after he was killed in action in Afghanistan in June 2012.

He was only the second person to receive the honour for military service in Afghanistan.

At the conference Mr Ashworth will be joined by speakers including Colonel Patrick Mercer, MP for Newark and a patron of the Victoria Cross Trust, Kevin Brazier, author of The Complete Victoria Cross, Dr Tony Pollard, director of the Centre for Battlefield Archaeology at Glasgow University and Michael Naxton, curator of the Ashcroft Collection.

Also speaking will be Jane Penrose, a descendent of Victoria Cross holder Nevill Coghill VC, who was awarded the military honour for gallantry during the Zulu War in 1879.

Gary Stapleton, chairman of the Victoria Cross Trust, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for members of the public to not only visit this amazing venue, but to hear from some of the country’s dedicated Victoria Cross experts. It will be a day to honour our servicemen and to keep their stories alive.

“We hope that the event will also help raise awareness of the trust and the vital work we do to restore the graves of VC holders. It is so important that we make sure the valorous few are never forgotten and this conference is just one of many events that aim to prevent that.”

The Union Jack Club is home to the UK’s only Victoria Cross memorial wall and lists the name of every man to have received the honour.

There is also a gallery displaying hundreds of framed photographs of Victoria Cross holders, many of them signed.

It is normally a venue only accessible to serving and former non-commissioned military personnel and their families but will be open to the public attending the conference.

Tickets can be obtained from the Victoria Cross Trust website at www.victoriacrosstrust.org/conference.php.