Lighting up our world

Normal, Weekender

Rural clinics around PNG are getting solar lights in memory of a Canadian soldier who was killed in Afghanistan

THE family of a Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan in 2006 is raising money to fund a development project in Papua New Guinea.
Sally and Tim Goddard, of Charlottetown, Nova Scotia in Canada, will hold a fundraising dinner and concert in Charlottetown on Nov 7 for the Nichola Goddard Light Up Papua New Guinea Project.
“(It’s) bringing solar lights to rural first aid posts and birthing centres in Papua New Guinea,” Mrs Goddard told local Canadian media.
Nichola Kathleen Sarah Goddard was born in PNG on May 2, 1980 while her father was working here on an educational development project for the Government.
Mrs Goddard said the idea for the project started when they were living in Calgary, Canada.
Dave Irvine-Halliday, a colleague of her husband’s at the University of Calgary, visited the family about a month after Nichola’s death. He is the founder of Light Up the World, a Calgary-based charity.
The couple was still considering what to do when the Government of Papua New Guinea invited the Goddards to the United Nations in New York to accept condolences.
“We met with the prime minister and we met with his chief of staff who was from the Trobriand Islands,” said Mrs Goddard. He raised the need for lights so that first aid stations can be used in the evenings.
“That was how the idea was born.”
Last year, the Goddards travelled to PNG to install the first lights in eight first aid centres.
Next month’s fundraising dinner will feature Canada TV reporter Lisa LaFlamme, who was with Capt Goddard’s battalion in the weeks before she died.
The concert will also include fiddler Richard Wood, who was in Kandahar the night Capt Goddard was killed.
On May 17, 2006, Capt Goddard was the first female Canadian combat soldier killed in combat, and the 16th Canadian soldier killed in Canadian operations in Afghanistan. Dozens more have perished since.
Born to British and Canadian school teachers in Madang, Capt Goddard spent most of her childhood in various locations, including Black Lake and Lac La Ronge, Saskatchewan, Canada.
She attended junior high school in Edmonton, Alberta, and high school in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.
Nicknamed “Carebear” by her ski team in Nova Scotia, her hobbies included cross-country skiing and running, and she had competed in biathlon events. She led a local Scout troop with her fianc– (later husband), Jason Beam, while they were officer cadets at the Royal Military College, in Kingston, Ontario and owned two dogs and two cats.
Capt Goddard arrived in Afghanistan in January 2006, and had been serving with Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry as a forward observation officer at the time of her death; her parent unit was the 1st Regiment Royal Canadian Horse Artillery.