GIVEN what happened to him on that fateful day in 1982 you would think that 'fortunate' would be one of the least likely descriptions that Simon Weston would use to describe his life.

But it's a word which crops up frequently during the course of our conversation.

Simon was just 20 and serving in the Welsh Guards when the troop ship Sir Galahad was attacked by Argentine fighter aircraft at Bluff Cove on June 9 during the Falklands War.

The ship was destroyed and 48 soldiers and crew were killed. Simon suffered 46 per cent burns but survived the attack. Since then he has had over 70 operations and has become a tireless charity worker and in-demand motivational speaker.

On Wednesday, almost exactly 34 years to the day of the sinking of the Sir Galahad, Simon will be at Darwen Library Theatre talking about his remarkable life.

"I think a lot of people have a curiosity about what happened back then so it's something I like to get out of the way and then hopefully at some point in the evening get back down to talking about other things they are interested in." said Simon.

"We do a question and answer session and that's the bit I really enjoy. It doesn't matter how long I stand there. I'm never going to answer all the questions that all the people want to ask. You will always get at least one question you have not been asked before."

Even down a phone line Simon has an aura about him and it's easy to appreciate why top companies call on him to address their employees.

But he remains an engaging and down-to-earth character.

"I'm very fortunate that I come from the land of 'who do you think you are then?'," he said of his upbringing in Wales. "I like that. It keeps your feet on the ground and you never lose sight of who you are and where you are from. I don't think of myself as anybody particularly special. I just think of myself as someone who has been particularly fortunate that's all."

Fortunate - there's that word again.

"There were 48 men on board my ship who would love to have had my problems and there are endless amounts of other guys who have been injured who've never really had the good fortune that I've had," he said.

Simon has devoted a lot of his time to working with charities involving ex-servicemen and he has been awarded first the OBE and then the CBE for his tireless efforts.

"I'm very fortunate that I do manage to make a connection with people," he said. "I really don't know how that happens or even why it happens but I'm ever so pleased it does.

"A lot of us let good fortune slip by. The reality of it is when it came down to it, I was able to make the most out of a bad job."

This from a man who continues to require regular hospital appointments.

"I still have to have operations and that's still ongoing. It's just part of my life and you can either gripe about it or get on with it."

Clearly his experiences have shaped his outlook on life, how could they not?

"The world is a very special place and we run the risk of letting it pass us by if we're not careful," he said. "I'm not preaching. If people want to let it slide by that is entirely up to them but for me, I honestly think you should live as much as you possibly can right now because it could just disappear the next moment.

"One of most ludicrous things in life is that we take it way too seriously. There is nothing wrong with taking certain things seriously but when we take our own selves that seriously then we've got a problem."

Among his many accomplishments you sense that Simon is perhaps most proud of the four children's books featuring Nelson a 'well-built' cart horse which he has written.

"The one thing about children is that they are not frauds.They are the most honest, uncompromising, uncomplicated, wonderful gifts to mankind and that's what I love about them. They make me laugh, make me cry and make me worry. Everything that goes on in the world makes me worry for children.

"I write the books with my mate Fitz (David Fitzgerald) and we have a hoot doing it.

"Reading to children is so important but it has to be fun. I remember the books we used to get sent home from school were so dull. You have to engage children and make it entertaining for them."

With a grandson of his own, Zac aged four-and-a-half, Simon is practising what he preaches - when he has the time amid the speaking dates, writing and charity work.

"I'm just very fortunate that my life rolled around in the way that it did," he said.

Simon Weston, Darwen Library Theatre, Wednesday, June 8. Details from 0844 847 1664.