Honours at last for Darwen war heroes
WAR heroes were given the freedom of their home town at a glamorous celebration dinner.
Veterans of conflicts up to and including the Aden Emergency, which ended in 1967, were rewarded during the event at Astley Bank in Darwen.
Around 70 former servicemen and women were given the freedom of Darwen, a special tie or scarf, and a badge.
The event was funded by Darwen Town Council and attended by councillors and the Royal British Legion, as well as the veterans themselves.
The dinner began with the Royal British Legion Darwen branch president Lawrence Gilbertson reciting the Ode to Remembrance before a minute’s silence was held to remember those who had fallen in war.
The veterans were then treated to a three-course meal before the awards were handed out.
Harry Holden, 95, who spent three years in Burma fighting the Japanese, was one of the veterans who attended.
He said: “You tend not to remember the bad things that happened while you were there.”
Also attending was Robert Chadwick Reeves, 92, who said: “I was a gunner for the maritime artillery during the Second World War from 1941 to 1945.
“I remember my dad waving me off at Nelson railway station.
“I became a policeman in Darwen after the war was over.
“I also witnessed D-Day first hand as I was at Arromanches at the time.”
In a speech after the awards were given out, town council mayor Eileen Entwistle said: “It has been a privilege and a great honour to meet so many veterans.
“It was a real pleasure to be here.”
The chairman of the Darwen branch of the Royal British Legion, Bob Wood, said: “The event was a great success. It was nice to see so many veterans there on the night.”
Sudell councillor Paul Browne said: “I would like to thank Astley Bank. What they have done for us was excellent.
“The people of Darwen pay £9 per year for the town council and everybody here said it was worth every penny.
“It was a brilliant event and it is things like this that put us on the map.”
Earcroft councillor Stephanie Brookfield said: “It is wonderful for a town like Darwen to have an event like this.
“It was humbling to be a part of it all.”