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Remembering visit from former Falklands governor

By Wells Journal  |  Posted: November 22, 2012

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This week Looking Back recalls the time a national figure visited our city and the memories one Wellensian has of him.

When he passed away on November 11 at the age of 86 Prime Minister David Cameron said that Sir Rex Hunt "should be a hero to everyone in Britain".

He was the governor of the Falkland Islands during the Argentine invasion of 1982.

It is not just for his leadership during the conflict that he is remembered in Wells.

Twenty Five years ago Sir Rex officially opened the Falkland Islands Agency, on Tucker Street.

The agency specialises in importing goods from the islands and Sir Rex was well known to the proprietors, Brian Paul and Annabelle Spencer, from the time that they spent living and working on the Falklands.

Annabelle said: "He was very a very genuine man. A governor and a peoples man.

"People could always go to Government House, knock on the door and ask to see him and he would find time. Once, he said 'hold on a moment, I'm on the phone to Buckingham Palace. I'm trying to get Prince Andrew's chest measurements for a sweater being knitted for his visit. It's like trying to get the jewels out of the tower!'"

Before his expulsion from the islands by the invaders Sir Rex told one of the Argentine commanders: "This is British property. You are not invited. We don't want you here. I want you to leave and to take all your men with you."

This stoic attitude symbolised the resolve of the islanders and he is credited with stiffening the resolve of those in Whitehall to reclaim the Falklands.

Once the conflict was over Sir Rex returned as governor of the islands until 1985.

He went on to become chairman of the Falkland Islands Association and to publish his memoirs, My Falkland Days.

From that time up until his death Sir Rex remained in touch with Annabelle and Brian and was supportive when Brian died in 2003.

"He was always the sort of person who would support anyone," Annabelle said.

"I've had people come in the shop saying that they've heard about Sir Rex and what a lovely day it was when he opened the agency.

"It's so sad for Lady Mavis and my condolences go out to her."

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