Friday of course marked 75 years since VE Day: 75 years of freedom, and of victory over the horrors of fascism. It was a day which reminded me of my lovely Grandad Jack, a Sapper with the Royal Engineers, who was part of the advance team at the D-Day Landings- if he had not made it home safely I wouldn’t be here today. We still have two pennies he had in his pocket on that mission which fused together in the extreme conditions thanks to a melted boiled sweet, and which he kept as a memento. We also thought of my wife Claire’s wonderful relative Brenda Johnston, who worked at Bletchley Park as part of the code breaking teams who changed the course of history. Claire has her commemorative badge. Every family would have reflected on their own heroes, sung and unsung.
In these challenging and isolating times, valuing our shared history and community is all the more important. We have so much to be thankful for. I spoke to the Tameside Reporter about the celebrations, and what it means to our local community. I was proud to use my daily walk to lay a wreath at Stalybridge War Memorial on behalf of all constituents on #VEDay75, with thanks to the excellent local British Legion. We followed this with a little tea party in the front garden, later listening to the moving reflections on BBC 1, including a fitting tribute from Her Majesty the Queen. For our freedom, we remember them.