PUBLISHED: 11:53 24 April 2008 | UPDATED: 13:12 06 May 2010
SIR, — With reference to your article Firefighters D-Day ride (Herts Advertiser, April 10), the St Albans Branch of the Normandy Veterans Association (NVA) would like to express our appreciation of the Green Watch fundraising cycle ride on behalf of vete
SIR, - With reference to your article Firefighters' D-Day ride (Herts Advertiser, April 10), the St Albans Branch of the Normandy Veterans Association (NVA) would like to express our appreciation of the Green Watch fundraising cycle ride on behalf of veterans. But I was astonished to read that "there are Normandy Veterans who cannot afford a Christmas lunch". I trust they're not from St Albans.
Just to clarify matters, the NVA has some 60 branches, self-funding, throughout the country, looking after their members' social and welfare matters.
The St Albans branch has been prominent in the city since 1984, providing all sorts of social and welfare help. Every year we have a Christmas lunch and also a 'fish'n'chip' meeting, at least one coach trip to the seaside (for a fiver), a service at Aldershot by coach and a Sunday roast, a coach trip to the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire (D-Day Anniversary) and any variety of trips and visits. We keep in touch with members' widows wherever possible, help members with the complexities of preferential rehousing, planning permissions, obtaining invalid tricycles, anything to help.
We have a monthly meeting and monthly newsletter and all for an annual subscription of £4. The rest we raise ourselves but in addition, over the years, we have raised around £100,000 for the British Legion Poppy Appeal on the streets of St Albans.
I am sure that many of our branches nationwide are doing similar work which does lead to the question who are these 'Normandy Veterans' who cannot afford a Christmas lunch? Also, of course, where will any funds go 'via the British Legion'?
I shall be trying to speak to Green Watch on their return but I feel that in the meantime your readers should be appraised of the situation.
Again, our congratulations to Green Watch for a marvellous effort and I hope they enjoyed the D-Day beaches (a bit more than we did).
Secretary/Acting Chairman, Normandy Veterans Association St Albans Branch.