26th Jun, 2022

Charity and veteran, 96, to host mammoth World War Two D-Day Landings anniversary celebration

Felix Nobes 12th May, 2019

A COVENTRY charity and military veteran, 96, are hosting a mammoth 75th anniversary celebration for the World War Two D-Day Landings campaign.

Normandy veteran and founder of the Normandy Day UK charity, Dennis Davison, wants to mark the anniversary by celebrating the freedom and peace enjoyed in Europe since the war with a community picnic.

The charity has been working with Coventry City Council and local schools to create a 3.5-acre Peace Orchard at Coundon Hall Park as an outdoor classroom for environmental and peace education. It will also host the picnic.

The Normandy campaign, which began with the D-Day Landings on June 6, 1944, was the turning point of the Second World War. It was the largest seaborne invasion ever assembled before or since. Much of the battle took place in the apple orchards of Normandy.

In honour of this, schoolchildren have planted over 650 native apple trees and fruit hedging plants in the new orchard.

They have also helped design a website, information boards, seating and plaques, which are all due to be completed in time for the picnic on June 6 – along with a new footpath.

Dennis said: “It’s important to remember those who fought for our freedom in the war, as well as members of the armed forces who continue to protect our way of life.

“For the sake of our children, it’s equally important to work for peace and unity every day.

“That’s what the Peace Orchard and the peace picnics are all about – bringing people of all backgrounds together to create something we can proudly leave to future generations.”

Marina Kelly, head teacher at Cardinal Newman, said, “The Peace Orchard has been brilliant for our students.

“From start to finish, they’ve been involved in its design and learned so much in the process.

“Students have designed benches, worked with a carpenter, created plaques and planted trees and wildflowers – things they could never have done in the classroom alone without the charity’s help.

“We now have an outdoor classroom on our doorstep.”

The charity also wants to make contact with families and relatives of those who served in the Normandy Campaign to invite them to a civic reception hosted by Coventry’s Lord Mayor on June 6. If this applies to anyone you know, please email the charity at contact@normandy-day.co.uk

To visit the Peace Orchard, park in the Tamworth Road car park CV6 8NJ (opposite Sandpits Lane junction). A new footpath will link the Orchard to the car park.

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