Honourable D-Day veterans awarded the Judges Special Award at the Stars of Suffolk 2019, in association with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines.
Four D-Day veterans were rewarded for their courage and sacrifice in WW2. The veterans, who boarded Boudicca back in June honoured for their incredible service to their country. They were given the award at the reputable Stars of Suffolk Awards. It was held at Greshams Ipswich last week.
The awards are designed to celebrate unsung heroes from all over the country. Across multiple industries from care workers to veterans.
This year, a Judges Special Award was added to the schedule of awards. This was done in order to celebrate the bravery demonstrated by those involved in the Normandy landings.
Veterans James Perry, Tony Pyatt, Francis Grant and Douglas Smith, all joined The Royal British Legion’s ‘D-Day 75 Voyage of Remembrance’ by boarding the Fred. Olsen owned ship – Boudicca. The four veterans took centre stage when receiving the newly introduced award. They did so on behalf of all of those present at the Normandy beaches 75 years ago.
Douglas Smith, 98 years of age, served as a bomber during the Second World War and he explained how tonsillitis saved his life. Smith stayed in a hospital overnight due to being ill. Whilst in the meantime, his crew took to the beach and never returned.
“The rest of my crew went and, sadly to say, they did not come back,” he said. “I’d like to pay tribute to those guys.”
Ellis Barker, Public Relations Executive at Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines said:
“I had the privilege of joining these gentlemen aboard Boudicca back in June, listening to their incredible stories and attending the many commemorative events, and it was our honour as a company to help these deserving D-Day veterans to return to the shores of Normandy.
“All of us on board Boudicca will never forget the moving reception that these heroes received, with crowds lining the shores, some holding signs saying ‘Thank you’, applauding and cheering everywhere that we went. This was replicated on stage at the Awards, when our Suffolk veterans received a standing ovation, with barely a dry eye in the room.”
Mick Parker, the Managing Director of Parker Communications, who has a lead role in arranging the awards, said:
“The impact that the veterans had this year on Stars of Suffolk 2019 was absolutely incredible. The audience were in awe of these gentlemen and the stories that they shared on the night and to bring an evening like that to a close with a standing ovation for the veterans was the perfect crescendo.”
Fred. Olsen’s cruise ship, Boudicca, set sail from Dover on June the 2nd of 2019, carrying 250 D-Day veterans, as well as their carers and companions.
The voyage was funded by The Royal British Legion’s LIBOR grant. It was offered at no cost to veterans. It was given in conjunction with the Ministry of Defence and Area Travel.
They first set off to Dunkirk before dropping into Poole. They then went onto Portsmouth for the commemorative event.
The journey followed the exact same route as the Boudicca would have took 75 years ago. It concluded with a special service at the Bayeux Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery.
To find out more about the historic ‘D-Day 75 Voyage of Remembrance’, visit https://www.fredolsencruises.com/royal-british-legion-d-day-voyage
For further information on Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, visit the website at www.fredolsencruises.com