A Second World War hero who was awarded France’s highest honour for his actions during the D-Day landings is among those planning to take part in a special event to honour veterans.
Newtownards man Eddie Spence, a former Royal Marine, was awarded the Légion d’Honneur for his bravery on the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944.
Despite not being in the best of health, the 93-year-old is hoping to be well enough to attend the spectacular pageant and parade in his home town on Friday, June 15 to honour Ards and North Down’s veterans.
The event is being hosted by Ards and North Down Borough Council in partnership with the Royal British Legion, “in recognition of the invaluable contribution of men and women from across the borough who have served their country at home and abroad.”
A parade, led by the Band of the Royal Marines, will set off from Court Square at 7pm, making its way to Conway Square where it will be received by the Lord Lieutenant of County Down.
A Beating Retreat, a colourful display of military music, tradition and precision drill, will then take place, concluding with a sunset service at around 8pm.
A variety of family entertainment will be provided in South Street car park from 6pm - 9pm, and there will also be displays of current and historic military vehicles.
David Forsyth, Chair of the Newtownards Branch of the Royal British Legion, said the event promises to be a great spectacle and has encouraged people to come out and show their support for the area’s veterans.
Stephen Reid, chief executive of Ards and North Down Borough Council added: “We have many current and past members of the Armed Forces living in the borough and strong links with the forces with batteries in Newtownards, Bangor and Holywood. This event pays tribute to them all; it is a time to remember those who served, sacrificed and fought for our freedom.
“While honouring these individuals, the event offers the perfect mix of music, colour, pageantry and action, and with family entertainment also available, there’ll be plenty of activities for all ages. I have no doubt our veterans’ event will draw the support of crowds.”
For further information log on to www.ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk