29/06/2004

World War II heroes make poignant return to battlefields

Northern Ireland’s WWII war veterans are continuing to mark the 60th anniversary of D-Day with their own lottery-funded trips to other spots of remembrance throughout France.

Today's round of grants from the Big Lottery Fund’s £10 million Heroes Return scheme have allowed three NI veterans to make the journey overseas with their spouses and carers.

Announcing the grants Walter Rader, the Big Lottery Fund’s Northern Ireland Director, said: “The Heroes Return programme has already helped Northern Ireland veterans return to battlefields, villages and war memorials to pay tribute to their fallen comrades.

“It is important to remember however, that many of our war heroes are still preparing for their journey overseas which will see them travel to places across Europe, Africa and Asia. Today’s funding is a tribute to those brave men and to the memories of those servicemen whose self-sacrifice led to victory.”

Veterans across Ireland can apply to the Heroes Return scheme as part of a veterans group or as individuals embarking on their own overseas commemorative trip.

Today’s grants totalling £1,575 are being made to veterans from Belfast, Lurgan and North Down who are making trips to battlefields, villages and war memorials in France this week which hold special memories for them.

Veterans who still wish to apply for funding can do so by contacting the Veteran’s Agency on 0800 169 2277 or the Royal British Legion in Dublin on 00353 01/003531 6713528 before March 2005. Visits will need to take place by December 2005.

(MB)

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