The York Press reported on December 23rd, 2013 that Normandy veterans from York have been blessed with a large lottery grant. The veterans plan on returning to France next year to pay tribute to those who died on D-Day. The trip is planned to land on the 70th anniversary of D-Day.
The York branch of the Normandy Veterans Association received a £12,785 grant paid by the Big Lottery Fund.
Ken Smith, Branch secretary said that the money would cover 60% of the cost for the trip in June. This money has secured that the veterans would be able to go.
There are 8 gentlemen making the trip: Ken Smith, Ken Cooke, George Meredith, Douglas Haw, Bert Barritt, Gordon Collinson, Dennis Haydock and Roy Rowbotham. The men planned to go on the trip with the widows of four veterans and a number of carers.
Smith also stated that the group would leave on June 4th. The group was able to book reservations in Bayeux which is at the center of all the activities. One of the activities include a service at the Bayeux Cathedral and another service at the war cemetery.
Smith said the veterans have been holding collections in order to raise funds for the trip; however, they relied on a number of active volunteers which has been steadily dwindling. They have been able to benefit from donations given by the York Inset Scooter Club’s annual rally. The Freemasons also contributed to their funding.
The spokesperson for the Big Lottery Fund’s “Heroes Return 2”, Alison Rowe, stated that it was an honor to help support the York branch of the Normandy Veterans Association. It was important for them to attend next year’s historic 70th anniversary 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 has extended the Heroes Return 2 program so that veterans can apply for funding to be able to make second trips back to places where they had once served.