16 June 2014
A group of elderly veterans faced the prospect of missing the recent D-Day commemorations in Normandy – until we stepped in and loaned them wheelchairs.
At the poignant ceremony on 6 June, all 12 members of the Normandy Veterans Association from Bristol were proudly sitting in the front row.
But if you looked more closely, you would have seen that all but one of them was using a British Red Cross wheelchair. And the group say there’s no way they would have made the event without them.
One of the veterans – 89-year-old Ken Turner – was just 19 years old when he landed at Normandy in 1944.
Speaking about the ceremony, he said: “It was a once in a lifetime experience. They really put out the red carpet for us and it was incredible.
“Our group was sitting right by the Queen and we had politicians coming over to shake our hands – I personally spoke to Alex Salmond and Nick Clegg.”
He added: “Most of our members are in their nineties, so without the Red Cross wheelchairs it would have been impossible for us to attend. We’d like to say thank you to the Red Cross and your wonderful volunteers.”
Our mobility aids service loans out helpful equipment – such as wheelchairs, crutches and bathing aids – to both adults and children.
Colleen Cleevely, operations director, said: “The Red Cross cared for thousands of wounded soldiers during the Second World War, so it seems fitting we were also there for them as they marked this special anniversary.”
And it looks like this is the beginning of an enduring partnership. The Bristol group will call on the Red Cross again later this month when they attend a parade at the Cenotaph in London, and at future veteran events in Westminster this October.
Donate to our special project in Lancashire, where the local community urgently needs new wheelchairs.