Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Rod Stewart Helps D-Day Veterans
Rod Stewart led a roll call of politicians, celebrities and generous members of the public backing the Daily Mail's campaign to send the D-Day veterans to Normandy.
The 64-year-old singer said he was 'outraged' the Government had no plans to send an official delegation and offered £7,500 to send 15 Essex veterans to France in June.
He said: 'These men sacrificed everything and we owe them this. My only condition is I'd like to meet them and talk to them as I'd be fascinated to hear about how they landed on their beaches.'
Stewart has strong family links to the military. His grandfather was decorated in the First World War, and his father and two brothers also served.
Essex D-Day veteran Don Sheppard, who was struggling to find the money to travel to Normandy this year, voiced his delight at the news, saying: 'What a marvellous thing Rod has done. We're all really touched that he cares.
'We weren't asking for charity, but a bit of respect. I still can't believe the Government isn't helping.'
He said: 'I was ten years old on D-Day and I clearly remember the great excitement of them landing on the beaches. It seemed as if we were at last going to win.'
Former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell, whose father-in-law fought at Arnhem, pledged a 'modest' donation, saying: 'The brave band of men who took part on D-Day are a rapidly diminishing asset and we should surely give those who are able the opportunity once again to pay respects to fallen comrades.'
There were offers of help from coach firms, and cross-Channel ferry operators were in discussion with the veterans yesterday with a view to providing free travel.
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