ONE of the oldest surviving Second World War heroes in East Lancashire has been officially presented with the highest distinction of bravery from the French Consulate.

Former Scots Guard, Ted Davidson, was made a French Legion d’Honneur, 75 years after the D-Day landings, and was honoured during an emotional ceremony at Burnley’s Towneley Hall on Saturday.

Entering to Scotland the Brave, an audience of around 60 people watched as the 94-year-old was led into the great hall flanked by ex-servicemen and current serving members of the Scots Guards.

Mr Davidson said: “I didn’t know how many people were coming today, it’s all been a bit of a surprise. All I can say is that I wish more of the lads were still here with me, my old comrades. Not today. We won’t ever forget them.”

Mr Davidson, who lives in Padiham, arrived at Normandy on June 6, 1944, and with his comrades, played an instrumental role in the liberation of France during the Second World War.

In a letter sent to Mr Davidson in October, informing him of his appointment to the rank of Chevalier in the Order national de la Legion d’Honneur, Catherine Colonna, the French Ambassador, wrote: “We owe our freedom and security to your dedication, because you were ready to risk your life.”

Presenting him with the medal, Rudolph Soulard, from the French Consulate, said: “It’s really an honour to give you this for your part in the liberation of France. France wants to thank you for the commitment you showed to our country during this terrible war. This is a message that we should not forget and we will never forget. May your bravery, commitment and dedication serve as an inspiration to others.”

Mr Davidson’s surrogate grand-daughter, singing starlet Grace O’Malley, performed emotional renditions of Abide With Me and Tell My Father, which brought tears to the eyes of those attending.

Miss O’Malley said: “I feel really proud to be here and to be singing for him today. Ted has been a gift in my life since I met him, and today is a day to celebrate him and everything he’s done in his wonderful life.”