‘LUCKY’ FAMILY'S WARTIME EFFORTS RECALLED
A Merseyside family's part in the fight against fascism in Europe is among the important contributions to Britain's wartime effort being marked this summer through the Lottery’s Heroes Return awards.
Today’s announcement of 233 brings to almost 1,000 the number of WW2 veterans, widows, spouses and carers in the North West who have been awarded grants to return to Second World War battlefields and other historic locations under the Heroes Return scheme.
Many veterans from the region are going back to Normandy, Arnhem, Anzio and the other theatres of war where they fought for freedom 60 years ago.
An award from the Big Lottery Fund's Heroes Return programme has represented some recognition of the contribution made by the Clements family of Merseyside to the fight against the Nazis.
With support from the Fund, former Cheshire regiment bandboy Bill Clements and his wife Margaret were able to take Ada, widow of Bill's late brother Jim, with them on the Royal British Legion cruise aboard the MV Van Gogh to Normandy for this summer's commemoration of the D-Day invasion which turned the tide against the fascists in Northern Europe.
"My three brothers – Jim, Ron and Gary – were all in action on D-Day,"
recalls Bill Clements, who had served with the 8th Army in North Africa and Italy before taking part in the Normandy landings.
"My sister Hilda served in the WAAF – the Women's Auxiliary Air Force – and our dad was an air raid warden. We were very lucky that we all came through the war. It was certainly scary at times, and I can remember some good comrades being killed and seriously injured.
Jim had always said to Ada that he'd take her to Normandy to see where we fought. But sadly, he died before that was possible. The same goes, of course, for Ron and for Gary, whose real name was Frederick. He picked up the nickname Gary because he wore hats like Gary Cooper," recalls Bill, who was known as 'Clemmo'.
"So, we were very pleased that Ada was able to make the trip with us to Normandy this year, with the help of the Heroes Return scheme. Everybody involved was so efficient and helpful, and we are very grateful to them," says Bill Clements.
Tom McFarlane from Farnworth near Bolton, Lancashire, began his naval service in 1942 aboard the 'ships with no names',
the United States-built vessels which were being produced at incredible speed after the United States joined the war against the Axis.
"We were sent to Missouri to pick up landing craft ship LSG237, a flat-bottomed vessel in which we then brought American troops back across the Atlantic," recalls 80-year-old Tom.
"We landed the troops in North Africa, and then brought more troops to Sicily and Italy.
I served at Anzio, and that was the worst part of the war for me. I remember the young American soldiers from the elite Rangers forces that we took on board at Naples. They thought they were going back to the States, and they promised us all a great time there and invited us to visit their homes.
But in fact they were part of the first wave onto the beaches at Anzio. They survived the landing, but within three days they were all either killed or captured. They were good lads, and I remember them well. It all seems such a waste of
Among his many memories of the Italian campaign, Tom remembers the Anzio beachmaster, future Labour Chancellor Denis Healey, helping to retrieve the body of a soldier half-buried in the sand.
Tom and the widow of a former comrade visited Sicily with support from the Heroes Return scheme this summer. "I think the scheme is a very good use of Lottery money and it is much appreciated by all of us veterans."
The Heroes Return scheme also provides Lottery funding for veterans’ spouses and carers to accompany them to countries where they served during the war. The Fund is helping veterans to record their experiences on these visits so that new generations can learn from them. War widows and widowers are also eligible for remembrance visits funding.
"The Fund is concerned that every veteran in the North West who might be able to make use of a Heroes Return grant should apply for one," said Big Lottery Fund Chief Executive Stephen Dunmore.
"The grants come from the good cause’s money contributed by people buying National Lottery tickets, and we know that spending on Heroes Return has tremendous public support. It recognises the great sacrifices made by men and women of Britain's wartime generation to defend liberty and democracy, and we believe it is important that those who served in the war, and their surviving spouses, should be able to make a visit to places of great significance to them.
The scheme is open for applications for funding until March next year and trips can be taken through to the end of next year, the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War."
One off show for Renowned Rastafarian poet
WHAT does a Doctor, a psychologist, a marketing officer and a Rastafarian poet all have in common?
Well, for one night only they will all be together under the roof of Britain's biggest cathedral to perform a specially commissioned show called 'Sacred Move' recently rehearsed at the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool.
Bisakha Sarker, one of the UK's leading exponents of South Asian dance, has brought together an eclectic mix of professional dancers, musicians and poets to perform a modern interpretation of the ancient art to celebrate the city's second Capital of Culture themed year - Faith In One City.
The unusual, multi-skilled and talented cast for the evening includes a Doctor at Stockport General, graduates in psychology and marketing, graduates from LIPA, the Northern College of Contemporary Dance and Middlesex University.
Bisakha has also drafted in one of the country's most promising young music Composers Arun Ghosh from Manchester. Arun together with choreographer Kali Dass have taken time out from their busy national touring schedule including dates at Royal Opera House in London to create 'Sacred Move'.
The ensemble reflects the ambitions of Chatarungan, an organisation Bisakha leads as Artistic Director, which aims to nurture up and coming artists.
Featuring performers from various faith backgrounds such as Liverpool's Rastafarian poet Levi Tafari 'Sacred Move' is billed as a soulful evening of new dance, live music and spoken word.
Hosted in Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral on Thursday, August 5, the hour long performance is one of 80 projects to be funded by the biggest community arts programme in the UK - the £2m Liverpool city council led Creative Communities programme, as well as the Esmee Fairburn Foundation.
Council Leader Mike Storey said:- "Dance is one of the most beautiful art forms. And I think we are truly blessed in Liverpool to have such a gifted, passionate mentor and one of the leading advocates in the country in
It's apt that, in the year we are celebrating Faith in Our City, she has created a piece that blends religion and culture and gives this ancient art such a fresh approach. Collaboration of artists like this is very exciting. The artistic community have a huge role to play in showcasing the new standards of cultural excellence in the city and performances such as this bodes well for our artistic programme as we build up to 2008."
Big Brother Grand Finale
THIS WEEK sees the television moment that everyone has been waiting for-the grand finale of Big Brother 5! The nation will finally discover who has triumphed after spending the summer locked away from the outside world, and to celebrate customers attending Walkabout in Liverpool can compete for an invitation to a special Big Brother party in the actual house this September!
On 7 August Friday, one lucky winner from Liverpool will receive an exclusive ‘golden ticket’ invitation to a party in the Big Brother house! Walkabout Bar manager Scott Meager is asking customers to come along dressed as their favourite housemate and the best look-alike will get an instant chance to compete for the prize that money just can’t buy.
Find out who got it next week!
Kwik Save Brings Eastender to Bromborough
ACTOR Steve McFadden opened the new look Bromborough Kwik Save store on Allport Lane after a re-launch gave to the refurbishment of the store estimated at over half a million pounds.
The store was opened by the hapless hard man of the BBC soap opera on August 4 with several new sections for shoppers to browse.
Customers can enjoy a new greengrocer section with a larger variety of fresh fruit and vegetables, and a huge selection of fresh hot food on the new rotisserie, such as roast chicken, sausages, hot pies and snacks.
Store manager Paul Palmer said:- "Our store is just one of the latest to undergo the regeneration process; aimed at giving stores across the country a more modern and fresh
US ALL YOUR VIEWS & NEWS TODAY