Mesothelioma UK Ambassador Brian Wallis has been busy as usual, spreading the word about the charity, and in particular, our Supporting Our Armed Forces project.
In June, Brian was in Normandy, France, looking after a group of Normandy Veterans who had returned to the beaches after 75 years of being landed, dropped or flown into the biggest invasion in human history. Brian acted as courier and companion for a group of veterans from East Anglia, some with family members and others attended by Royal Anglian Regt. personnel. Special services were conducted at six British and Commonwealth cemeteries.
Brian’s group, sponsored by the Anglian Motel chain, laid 18,000 red roses during the week-long stay in Normandy and visited cemeteries and battle grounds across the a width and breadth of the invasion sector. The group attended the national observance at Arromanches on the anniversary of D-Day, along with 6,000 other veterans and supporters. As well as visiting and paying respects at British Commonwealth, Polish and other cemeteries the group also visited German and Russian burial grounds, where red roses were laid as an act of reconcilliation.
Brian’s presentation about his experiences at Normandy 75 was well received by attendees who all received a commemorative Normandy Medal on behalf of MoD/Royal Anglians.
The East Anglian “Normandy 75” commemorations will conclude at Hunstanton Pier and Green at the end of August with a military parade and Drumhead Service on 31 August and 1 September and where Mesothelioma UK and Anglia Asbestos Diseases Support Group (AADSG) will have a stall. Brian, a member of our Supporting our Armed Forces Project Committee will preside over the event. Admission is free
In July Brian and Mesothelioma Nurse Specialist Nurse, Sharon Savory spoke to members of the MELU (mesothelioma and lung cancer) Lunch Club at Glenfield, Leicester. The group then joined friends from AADSG for a conducted tour of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) facility at RAF Coningsby.
On the hottest day of the year (37.9C in Coningsby) guests were grateful to get into the hanger where BBMF aircraft are displayed and where it was a little cooler. The hanger is a working environment and engineers were seen readying aircraft for assignments at airshows in Sunderland and at Biggin Hill. The BBMF Lancaster took pride of place in the hanger and the Douglas DC3 Dakota took – off for an assignment whilst providing a fly-past for our guests.
In the afternoon the group travelled to East Kirkby where a lunch was provided in the NAAFI. The Avro Lancaster plane, Just Jane, provided a full-power run-up and taxied in front of the NAAFI and onto the airfield, On its return guests were able to view the “Lanc” and the De-Havilland Mosquito in the hanger and museum. The day concluded with the laying of a commemorative wreath in RAF colours at the Station memorial.
Many thanks to RAF personnel at Coningsby and staff and volunteers at East Kirkby for providing this unique experience.
On Tuesday 23 July Brian gave an illustrated talk to members of the AADSG at the famous Farmers Club in Bury St. Edmunds. Mesothelioma patients and carers and from Norfolk and Suffolk attended.