The Spirit of Normandy Trust is a registered charity (1038121)
dedicated to perpetuate the memory of those who fought
to preserve freedom in 1944.
Legacy Tour to Normandy
The Legacy Tour was organised by Mark Waring , Alan Ridley and the team of Return to Normandy 2016 , they raised the funds to take youngsters aged 10+ accompanied by a parent or grandparent , with 4 Normandy veterans and their carers, on a "whirlwind" trip to Normandy from 22 - 25th October. The group stayed in Arromanches and were delighted and appreciative to have the complimentary services of a well renowned guide Stuart Robertson.
Two of the pupils present had won free places in a competition. The veterans' travel and accommodation was fully sponsored and the other participants received extremely generous rates subsidised by RTN2016. The places visited, amongst museums and other "quick stops", were the British beaches, the American sector, Juno beach and Ranville Cemetery.
Mary & Ian Stewart, (Hon:secretary and Vice Chairman of the Spirit of Normandy Trust) met up with the group at several locations, to join their younger Grandson, who was accompanied by his Mum. They realised that being the youngest present it was a lot of detailed information for him to "take on board" . However, he like the others, all had a great rapport , especially the veterans , who were fully aware that this incredible opportunity and experience was something they will never forget, and will hopefully pass on to their children and grandchildren.
RTN2016 are to be congratulated on the concept of the project and their dedicated organisation. An enormous contribution to educating this, and the next generation. The veterans are "Living History" , whose company and experiences we are privileged to share.
Return To Normandy's next event is a Christmas lunch to be held on 4th December in Portsmouth for Normandy veterans, families and supporters, for more information contact: email@example.com
Plans are already in place to take the veterans to Normandy in June and for further "Legacy Tours" in August and October 2017
72nd Anniversary of the Normandy Landings
An important commemoration
June this year, as in so many previous years, saw a large number of Normandy veterans travelling to France to take part in a wide range of commemorative events. There were numerous events across Normandy over the first week or so of June. The events captured in this newsletter are just a flavor of some of those that were held. 72 years on from the operation that freed France, and ultimately Europe, from a sinister and oppressive regime, the events were as emotional and meaningful as always.
Saturday 4th June
Some of the major events started with the ceremony in front of the statue of Field Marshal Montgomery at Colleville Montgomery, which sits at Sword Beach.
The French Military Academy of Lorient decided this year to hold a ceremony at Colleville Montgomery on the morning of 5th June, which meant that the main commemorative event had to be moved to the 4th June. It was very well attended and was a very special event as it was the 20th anniversary of the unveiling of Montgomery’s statue. The Honourable Henry Montgomery, grandson of Field Marshal Montgomery was present at the service and spoke of the pride that his Grandfather would have had at the way the veterans continued to return to Normandy to remember the campaign and their comrades.
Veteran Fred Harris with the Hon Henry Montgomery
The Service at Colleville Montgomery was led by Rev Mandy Reynolds. The Dutch Band of Liberation provided the music and led veterans for a march past as they went to the sea front for a vin d’honneur, the salute being taken by the Mayor of Colleville Montgomery.
Saturday 5th June
A further, more informal, Service was held at the statue of Montgomery on 5th June for those who were unable to change travel arrangements to attend the service on 4th June.
The Mayor of Colleville Montgomery spoke at the Service and the event was led by Richard Palusinski, Chairman of the Spirit of Normandy Trust.
Richard Palusinski leads the Service at Colleville Montgomery
A number of other commemorative events were held at locations including Pegasus Bridge, Rots and the Jerusalem Cemetery in Chouain, all of which were attended by Trustees from the Spirit of Normandy Trust.
Rev Mandy Reynolds leads the Service at Arromanches
A large number of organisations worked together to make the events this year a great success. These included the Royal British Legion, Return to Normandy, Project 71, D Day revisited, the D Day academy, The Mairies of Colleville Montgomery and Arromanches and many others. A huge vote of thanks must go to them all.
Sunday 6th June