Normandy veterans benefit from Melksham's ball

Wiltshire Times: Bob Conway, chairman of the Wiltshire Normandy Veterans Association, receives a cheque from Melksham Blitz Ball organiser Jason Close Bob Conway, chairman of the Wiltshire Normandy Veterans Association, receives a cheque from Melksham Blitz Ball organiser Jason Close

The 2013 Melksham Blitz Ball, held in December, raised £550 which was given to the Wiltshire Normandy Veterans’ Association on Friday.

The annual ball had a Second World War-era theme and people who attended wore period outfits and uniforms.

The organisers traditionally hold a fundraising raffle and this year it was for the Wiltshire Normandy Veterans’ Association in Wiltshire.

This year is the 70th anniversary of the Normandy Landings of June 1944 – the greatest air and seaborne landing ever attempted in history.

Codenamed Operation Overlord, the landings involved dropping 24,000 airborne troops and over 160,000 more troops landing on the Normandy beaches.

Local veterans of the Normandy campaign will have a busy year with a five-day pilgrimage and commemorative visit to Normandy in June and a number of events across the UK throughout the year, including a service of remembrance in York Minster.

Jason Close and Chris Stratton, of the Blitz Ball organising committee, said “We are delighted to be able to support the local veterans of the Normandy landings in what will be a full and, no doubt, expensive year for them. They gave a great deal to secure the freedom that we have today and it is fitting that we should repay that in this way.”

A cheque was presented to the veterans at their branch meeting in Melksham. Chairman Bob Conway said: “We are very grateful for the kind donation from the Melksham Blitz Ball. We had a most enjoyable evening as their guests and this donation is very much appreciated.”

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