Sunderland’s military veterans are being invited to help play their part in VE Day commemorations on May 8.
While Sunderland has one of the highest percentages of Second World War Two and military veterans as residents, many of the modest heroes have never come forward to apply for their veterans’ cap badge.
The Sunderland Armed Forces Network is inviting veterans of all ages to apply by May 1 in time to receive their badges from the Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Barry Curran.
Veterans will receive their badges at a Commemoration and Veterans’ Presentation on Sunday, May 8.
Proceedings begin with a short service at the War Memorial in Burdon Road at 12pm followed by the Veterans’ Badge presentation at 1.30pm hosted by The Westminster public house within walking distance of Sunderland Minster.
The Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Barry Curran said: “I am honoured to have been invited to represent the people of our city at the VE Day Commemoration and Veterans Presentation.
“The whole world owes the veterans a huge debt of gratitude for their service and sacrifice during the Second World War and other conflicts, and these badges are just small token of our respect.
“I’m delighted that we will be joined by a guest of honour, the Captain of HMS Ocean Stephen Moorhouse OBE, for the occasion demonstrating our city’s continuing strong links with our armed forces and proud military tradition.
“Last year we asked people to come forward and apply for their veterans badges in time to join us for the Battle of Britain civic celebrations and received 186 applications, I hope we will get an even greater response this time, so even more veterans can join us to take their rightful place at the centre of the VE Day proceedings.”
Sunderland Armed Forces Network (SAFN) was established after Sunderland City Council signed the Armed Force Covenant in 2012, and is partnership with veterans’ groups and serving personnel to promote and protect the interests of the 26,000 people living in the city with service records.
The network provides help and support with resettlement into all aspects of community, civilian life such as employment, skills, education and housing working alongside families and community groups.
SAFN Chairman Graham Hall said: “Last year’s appeal was a great success and we would like to ensure veterans that they still have the chance to have their service recognised with this badge of honour. All we ask is that applicants contact us so we can send them a form to be completed and we will do the rest.
“Sunderland has the highest proportion of veterans of any city in the country.
“Many of those who served do not have their badges and we would like to help them rectify that issue.
“Those who may not want to be part of the presentation but would still like their badges are welcome apply at any time, and we will send them directly to their homes.”
“The criteria to receive a Veterans’ Badge is that you must have served in regular or reserved forces or be in receipt of a Armed Forces Widows or Widowers Pension.
“It is immaterial how long you served, when you served or what age you are, as everyone is classed as a veteran upon discharge.”
Applicants are asked to ring 0191 561 8888 or email email@example.com.