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Earby man launches war veterans e-petition
8:34am Friday 4th July 2014 in News
Former War Veteran and Earby Councilor James Spence launches a E Petition to give Freedom of The Town or City to WW2 Veterans. (7750283)
AN Earby man has launched a national e-petition aimed at giving all World War II veterans Freedom of the Town recognition.
Two years ago, Earby Town Council honoured all of its veterans of the Second World War by awarding them Freedom of the Town or City.
And now town councillor James Spence, who himself is an Army veteran who served in the 5th Regiment Royal Artillery during the Gulf War, has taken the campaign to a national level.
Cllr Spence, of Rushton Avenue, has submitted an e-petition with the Department for Communities and Local Government asking that all communities in the UK follow in Earby's footsteps.
"In 2012, Earby was the first to honour all its World War II veterans at a ceremony where they were given an award and the Freedom of the Town," he said. "We gave 30 ex-servicemen and women a silver salver and a letter from the Queen giving them her blessing. Unfortunately since then we have sadly lost nine of these veterans.
"In conjunction with Armed Forces Day and the 100-year anniversary of the First World War I saw this as a perfect opportunity to get all the veterans honoured in this way before it is too late."
In the e-petition, Cllr Spence writes: "I am calling on the government to set aside funding for all town, parish and city councils in the UK to honour all our men and woman that served our country in World War II by giving them the Freedom of the Town .
"As we all know our veterans are now in their 80s and 90s. I feel that in a few years it will be too late.
"We all have a connection with World War II veterans whether it be our grandparents or the elderly that walk down your street.
"Don't forget what this generation has done for this country."
Cllr Spence said the e-petition, which currently has 175 signatures, will be open until June 23, 2015.
"To get a comment from the government, it needs 10,000 signatures, and to get a debate in Parliament it needs 100,000 signatures."
He said that Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson has given his backing to the online petition.
"Every town and city has a veteran in them, and some of them don't have any relatives," added Cllr Spence. "We should give these lads and lasses the recognition that they deserve. It would nice for the whole country to do it."
Anyone interested in viewing or signing the e-petition should visit http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/65301