Shifnal to mark D-Day with French friends

 

A Shropshire town is marking the 80th anniversary of D-Day with a series of tributes, including visitors from its French twin town.

Shifnal will observe the milestone on June 6 as part of the Anglo-French commemoration of the Normandy landings. St Andrew’s Church will join a national bell ringing chorus at 6.30pm as part of the recognition of the day.

This will be followed by a parade from the Village Hall with a marching band and representatives of the Royal British Legion, cadets, scouts and uniformed organisations.

At 8.30pm there will be a special service in the church, laying of French and English wreaths and lighting of a ‘Lamp of Peace’ by the Mayor of Shifnal as part of a nationwide string of beacons representing the light that emerged from the darkness of war.

Ruth Evans, chairman of Shifnal Twinning Association, commented: “We are delighted to be welcoming three members of the Union of Former Combatants from our twin town of Machecoul-Saint-Même on this significant occasion. We hope they enjoy their time with us.”

Rev Chris Thorpe of St Andrew’s Church explained: “D-Day has always been important to me because of the link with my father. Ernest Thorpe flew a Horsa glider on to the Merville gun battery the night before D-Day. They were tasked with destroying the big guns that could threaten the landing beaches.

“He took me to the site when I was 15 in 1975 and it made a huge impression on me. This 80th anniversary will be a momentous one and we want to join with the national commemorations and to mark it well.”

CAPTION: Mayor Roger Cox and Rev Chris Thorpe with D Day memorabilia.

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