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War veterans are given town honour
Twenty-two World War Two veterans were honoured during the diamond jubilee celebrations in Earby.
Couns Vera Cocker and James Spence, a Gulf War veteran, had suggested a ceremony for those who had defended the country during the Second World War.
And, on Sunday, the veterans received the Freedom of Earby, the highest honour possible for people of the town.
Coun Spence said: “We didn’t want to wait until there were only one or two of these fantastic veterans left to recognise them. We wanted to give the freedom to as many people as possible.”
“It was a great day,” said Harry Riley, 89, who served in the 5th Battalion East Lancashire Regiment. “I’m just sorry my brothers couldn’t be here today.”
Harry Manning, 94, who served in the 8th Batallion Royal Tank Regiment, was the only one of four men to escape alive when his tank was shot at while serving in Libya. Although he was able to crawl to safety, he lost an arm in the battle.
Mr Manning spoke about his surprise when he was informed that he was to receive the honour.
“It was something that came out of the blue, but I’m very pleased to receive the award as a memento for the time I served,” he said.
Violet Walmsley, 93, who served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service, was one of three women honoured on the day.
Her daughter, Beth Kelly, came all the way from the Isle of Man to see her mother bestowed with the award.
“It’s lovely and a real honour,” said Mrs Kelly. “They all went through so much in those days.”
Town council chairman Coun Chris Tennant said: “We always remember the ones who fell but don’t always remember the ones who survived. We were here today to honour them.”
Peter Wright, master of Earby Brass Band, composed a special arrangement called In Great Esteem.
The names of the veterans who were honoured were Leonard Barnham, 87; Handford Blackey, 90; Lily Bragg, 88; James Robertson Dickson, 92; Jack Eastwood, 91; Robert Alma Lister; Harry Manning, 94; John Alan Reedy, 92; Harry Riley, 89; Tom Ritchie, 92; Dennis Sanderson, 89; George Tait, 92; Charles Moreland Tattersall, 92; Laura Taylor, 89; Robert Taylor, 88; Norman Vesty, 86; Violet Walmsley, 93; William Henry Walton, 93; Alan Wiseman, 88; Jim Wiseman; John Derrick Wright, 89; and Donald Wright, 93.