A POEM written by Falklands Islands’ veteran has been transformed into a song that has been recorded by a choir from Port Stanley.

Steve Butterworth, an outreach worker from Haslingden-based charity Veterans In Communities, returned to the islands for the first time in 32 years in 2014.

He served in the Royal Navy from 1976 until 1983 and was a catering accountant on HMS Intrepid, but during the day he was a medic patching up the wounded, mainly Welsh Guards from the Sir Galahad.

Although he was never affected by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Steve, 57, of Holcombe Brook, said he witnessed some ‘horrible things’ and he can never forget the smells.

On his return to the Falklands, he was moved by the islands’ national flower Pale Maiden and its strong scent.

He said: “This little flower and its fragrance had such an impact on me because having treated some of the Welsh Guards, the smell of those terrible burns and wounds stayed with me.

“The small white bloom with a yellow centre and red veins and especially its distinctive fragrance became a symbol of hope.

“I wrote down what I was thinking and it became a poem, Pale Maiden. When I returned, it was suggested I make it into a song and I wrote a further three verses.

“That little flower turned a negative experience in 1982 into a positive in 2014. When I returned to the Islands in 2015 I approached the Port Stanley Cathedral Choir with a view to them recording my song.”

Pale Maiden is now being sold for £5 with all profits benefitting VIC and the South Atlantic Medal Association.

The song is a sentimental dialogue of how the Pale Maiden grows and protects the islands from land, sea and air and acts as a ‘Guardian Angel’ to the fallen. A second female section, co-written and sung by acclaimed folk singer Corrie Shelly, portrays the flower singing to herself.

On the CD Port Stanley Cathedral Choir and Infant and Youth Choir sing one version, the male part of the song, with music composed and lyrics arranged by VIC member Alan Willetts and Veteran’s sweetheart Sarah Dennis.

VIC member Nina Birley composed the second female version of the song and Steve provided backing vocals.

It has been played on the Falkland Islands radio station and is available to buy from VIC on 01706 833180 or email info@vic.org.uk

VIC’s Singing Group will be adding the song to their play list and, thanks to digital technology, they will also be singing a version with the Port Stanley Choir.

To hear a sample of the song visit YouTube and search Pale Maiden.