Veteran celebrates 90th birthday and fundraising success

Evesham Journal: Noel Wilkes Noel Wilkes

AN Evesham war veteran will be able to mark the 70th anniversary of the Normandy Landings alongside 24 cadets after he helped to raise thousands of pounds to fund the journey.

Noel Wilkes celebrated raising more than £9,000 of the £10,500 needed to fund the trip to France to commemorate the landings at his 90th birthday on Tuesday, January 28.

The Evesham resident hosted the party at the Bengeworth Club and invited everyone who has helped him to raise the cash.

"I had my 90th birthday and at the same time there was so many sponsors and donation made by people and businesses in Evesham I thought why not do it all together," said Mr Wilkes. "So I invited those people who have helped along to thank them at my birthday party.

"We even raised some money on the night, £1,638 in total including £800 from the Red Horse Amateur Football Club."

The trip to Normandy will see 57 people altogether travel to France in memory of the events of World War Two.

The landings hold an important place in Mr Wilkes own memory as he landed on Juno beach six days after the event and began to take care of the transport on the site.

Because of this experience Mr Wilkes wants to continue to ensure young people remember the events.

"It's for the cadets really," he said. "It is important to keep the memory going for the youngsters."

It is not the first time the group has made the journey, five years ago they travelled to commemorate the 65th anniversary but managed to secure lottery funding.

Unfortunately this time they were not so successful but thanks to Mr Wilkes the trip will still take place.

"I think everyone is really grateful," added Mr Wilkes. "This will be my last trip so it is important to me."

Anybody who would like to make a donation should contact Jeff King on 01386 443923 or Noel Wilkes on 01386 442520.

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