The national lottery has launched a campaign to publicise funding it provides for Veterans to attend commemorative War events across Europe as the anniversary of the D-Day landings approaches.
The Big Lottery Fund grant created the Heroes Return Programme to help veterans of WW2 from the UK, Channel Islands and Republic of Ireland get financial support for their travels, grants range from £165 to £8,140 to cover travel and accommodation expenses, also covering the costs for spouses and carers.
The programme has awarded over £28 million to more than 57,000 veterans, their widows, spouses and carers for journeys in the UK, France, Germany, the Middle East, Far East and beyond.
MP for Neath Peter Hain said: “This is a truly worthwhile cause and I hope it receives a great deal of attention so we can let our veterans know that this funding is available.”
“For these men and women, events such as these offer a chance to remember the good and bad days of their service, it is often a case that those veterans who go get an opportunity to meet friends they have not seen in decades or teach their families and friends of their individual histories.”
Further details can be found at www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/heroesreturn or by calling our Heroes Return helpline 0845 0000 121, and by following @biglotteryfund on Twitter.
Two army officers from Neath have been praised as ‘real role models’ by their MP Peter Hain.
Major Matt Thomas from Cimla and Captain Mark Kretzchmar from Bryncoch attended a special event in Parliament in honour of the Welsh Guards where Mr Hain thanked them for their service.
‘They are both real role models for youngsters enlisting for the armed forces or the Territorial Army. To have become such senior officers charged with duty and care as well as steadfast leadership makes all if us in Neath salute them with real pride.
Neath MP Peter Hain has praised the year round work of the Royal British Legion following a meeting with the new Legion Area Manager for Wales and volunteers.
At an event in Parliament Mr Hain was able to discuss the Legion’s work in the area where they are a leading provider of welfare for the Armed Forces community in Neath and the changing face of Armed Forces welfare provision. Mr Hain was also able to meet Welsh Legion beneficiaries Samantha Bowen and Andy Davies to discuss their experiences.
Following the meeting Hain said, “The support the Royal British Legion gives to serving and ex-service personnel is tremendous. While we all stop to remember the sacrifice made by members of the Armed Forces on Armistice Day, Battle Britain Day and Armed Forces Day much of the work of the Legion goes unseen. The assistance and support they provide for those who have been injured or are struggling is a year round service. It is vital that we as a nation honour the sacrifices made by our Armed Forces, and I’m proud to support the work of The Royal British Legion.”
The Royal British Legion provides care and support to all members of the British Armed Forces, past and present, and their families. That care and support can come in many forms, whether it be direct financial aid; benefits and money advice; adventure holidays in the UK for Armed Forces families who need a break; or helping an elderly or disabled veteran with a trusted handyman facility to help with odd-jobs in the home. These are just some of the many, many services the Legion offers as way of support to the Armed Forces community.
Peter Hain has urged eligible veterans and next of kin to apply for the Arctic Star and the Bomber Command Clasp after it was announced that the application process had been opened. The MP for Neath said, ‘it is only fitting that these awards be issued in recognition of the great bravery of those who contributed to two very important campaigns of the Second World War.’
“The sacrifice these men made and the daring and dangerous missions they undertook risking life and limb, often in terrible conditions, keeping Britain going and fighting back fascist oppression makes this a richly deserved award, which is why I’m urging any veterans or relatives in the Neath Constituency to apply for them.”
The qualifying period for the Arctic Star is “service of any length,” recognising the particularly severe conditions experienced by those who served in the Arctic. Eligibility is extended beyond those who served on the Arctic Convoys to include all who served north of the Arctic Circle in World War Two and members of all three Services in addition to the Merchant Navy, who delivered vital supplies to Russia.
Veterans and widows will receive priority in being issued the awards. Other next of kin may also apply now but will have to wait slightly longer to receive their award.
The design for the Arctic Star is based on the other World War Two Stars, whilst the Bomber Command Clasp is to be worn on the ribbon of the 1939 to 1945 Star. It follows the design of the Battle of Britain Clasp and has been approved by Her Majesty the Queen on the basis of recommendations made by the Royal Mint Advisory Committee.
The relevant application forms are available from Mr Hain’s constituency office, 39 Windsor Road, Neath, SA11 1NB and can be found on the Veterans UK website, where further details of the criteria for eligibility can also be found. Alternatively, applications can be made by telephoning the MOD Medal Office on 08457 800 900 for further details.
Peter remembers War dead in Neath
Peter attended Neath’s Battle of Britain parade on Sunday 16th of September to commemorate all those who died in defence of Britain’s airspace during the Second World War. With a combined effort from the Air Cadets, Sea Cadets and Army Cadets with RAF veterans leading, they marched through the streets of Neath and attended a memorial service in St David’s church. Following the service a ceremony took place at the town’s cenotaph at the Gnoll Gates. Peter Laid a wreath on behalf of the people of Neath along with other dignitaries and veterans.
After the ceremony the Royal Air Force Association club held a reception for the guests. The Lord Lieutenant of West Glamorgan D Byron Lewis Esq., CStJ, FCA was asked to present two awards, Malcolm Lyn Davies and Paul John Kent were honoured with the Royal Welsh Regimental Medal. Both have committed a great deal of service to the local community and to the RAF Association
Peter said “I was pleased to be part of the town’s parade and to see such a strong turnout of veterans and cadets showing appreciation and grief for the sacrifice made by so many during the epoch changing summer of 1940. These occasions remind us all of the terrible price the last generation paid for freedom.”