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Farnham honours D-Day 80

Group of people looking at a lit beacon

Farnham came together on Thursday (6 June) to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day. Farnham Town Council organised a series of tributes to signal the community’s respect and gratitude for the sacrifices made by so many during World War II and the role played by local people.

The day began with Farnham’s Town Crier reading the D-Day 80 proclamation in Castle Street in front of civic dignitaries, representatives of the local community and veterans. The location was significant as it marked the place where the first two minutes silence was held on 10 May 1916.

Mid-morning, children from ten local schools gathered at the war memorial in Gostrey Meadow. A contingent, which included the Mayor of Farnham, the Royal British Legion and civic representatives marched to Gostrey Meadow to join the schools.

The Mayor of Farnham, Councillor Brodie Mauluka introduced the commemoration and invited the Deputy Lieutenant, Col. Patrick Crowley MBE to read D-Day Heroes which is a poem written by Chelsea Pensioner and Herald Roy Palmer. Shortly before 11am, guests joined in the Remembering Epitaph, listened to the playing of the last post and observed a two-minute silence. The commemoration ended with the school children reading poems that they had written for the occasion including the following by a pupil remembering her Great Granddad Dennis Fry:

“Dennis Fry: My Great Granddad

“On the sixth of June 1944, my Great Granddad fought in the war. He was 20 years old as brave as a tiger, no-one could stop him, he was a fighter. He landed on Sword Beach a long way from home, he must have been scared, all alone. I love him lots for being a hero, sometimes I wish I could say hello. If I did ever see him this is what I would say. Thank you for saving our country.”

Later in the evening, the wider community took part in a beacon lighting event at Gostrey Meadow. Vocalist Jen Merchant and Farnham Brass Band helped to recreate a 1940s atmosphere. There was also a BBC Radio broadcast, a guard of honour, a performance of Shores of Normandy by Kevin Sampson of Farnham Amateur Operatics Society and the reading of an international tribute by Brigadier Paul Evans OBE DL.

Speaking after the day’s events, the Mayor of Farnham, Councillor Brodie Mauluka said: “I feel very proud to have been involved in today’s events. As well as remembering those who were involved in D-Day, we also remembered their families. There was a really good turnout and I thank the community for helping us preserve the memories of our heroes and to remember the sacrifices that were made for our freedom.”

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