Lottery cash will help war veterans return to Normandy

York Press: Ken Smith Ken Smith

NORMANDY veterans from York have been boosted by a major lottery grant as they plan a return to France next year to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

The York branch of the Normandy Veterans Association has been awarded a £12,785 grant from the Big Lottery Fund.

Branch secretary Ken Smith said the money would meet about 60 per cent of the cost of the trip next June, and ensured they could now afford to go.

He said eight veterans – himself, Ken Cooke, George Meredith, Douglas Haw, Bert Barritt, Gordon Collinson, Dennis Haydock and Roy Rowbotham - planned to go on the trip, along with four veterans' widows and a number of carers.

He said they would leave on June 4, and had managed to book accommodation in Bayeux, right at the centre of all the commemorative activities, including a service at Bayeux Cathedral and one at a war cemetery.

Mr Smith said veterans had been holding collections to raise funds for the trip, but relied on a dwindling number of active volunteers as age took its toll, but they had benefited from donations from York Inset Scooter Club’s annual rally and from the Freemasons.

Alison Rowe, spokeswoman for the Big Lottery Fund’s “Heroes Return 2” venture, said it was honoured to support the York branch of the Normandy Veterans Association in attending next year's historic 70th commemoration of the D-Day landings.

“We owe a huge debt of gratitude and recognition to all the brave men and women who served across the world and at home during the Second World War,” she said. “They built the peace and protected the freedoms we enjoy today.”

She said the Big Lottery Fund had extended its Heroes Return 2 programme to enable veterans to apply for funding to make second trips back to places across the world where they served, or make a commemorative visit in the UK.

For details contact Heroes Return helpline: 0845 00 00 121 or visit www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/heroesreturn

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