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Meeting BIG funded war veterans

5 June 2009

It was a great honour to spend some time on Wednesday afternoon meeting war veterans to mark the first awards being made under the Big Lottery Fund’s Heroes Return 2 programme.  So far 773 people have received over £1.5 million to help fund their participation in events to commemorate the 65th anniversary of events that led up to the end of the Second World War. The heroes I met were returning to Normandy the following day to participate in D-Day landings activity.

The Big Lottery Fund has a proud history of supporting our war veterans. Back in 2004, we helped 39,000 veterans and their spouses, widows and carers to go overseas to revisit those sites where they saw action. Once again we are offering support to veterans who saw service not only in Normandy but also elsewhere in 1944 and 1945, such as Arnhem, Okinawa, Burma and Libya.

The stories the veterans told me were harrowing and deeply moving.  I am sure that they are going to benefit greatly from the opportunity to pay their respects over the next few days and that we benefit as a society in honouring and supporting their memories of those truly troubled times.

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