Honour 80th anniversary of D-Day at events in Leighton-Linslade and Heath and Reach

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Residents are invited to honour the brave heroes of D-Day, as 80th anniversary events take place in Leighton-Linslade and Heath and Reach this week.

Across the country, ceremonies will be taking place on Thursday (June 6) to commemorate the 1944 Normandy landings, the largest amphibious invasion in military history.

Operation Overlord saw the allies arrive at five beaches in France, code named Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword, ready to drive the Nazis back - and now, here in Bedfordshire, residents can honour the courageous men and women eighty years later.

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Chris Kierstenson, of the Leighton Buzzard Royal British Legion (RBL) branch, said: "We start at Linslade. A service of remembrance will take place at the Memorial Gardens in Mentmore Road at 11am. There will be a Blessing by Father Bernard, followed by a two minute silence and wreath laying. The service is open to the community and we'd love to see you join us and pay your respects.

Eight decades have passed since the military invasion.Eight decades have passed since the military invasion.
Eight decades have passed since the military invasion.

"Then we move to Leighton Buzzard War Memorial. A service of remembrance will be held in Church Square at 7pm. A service will be lead by the Legion, with a Blessing by Mother Kirsty, and a wreath laying by the Town Mayor (Cllr David Bligh) and RBL President (Cllr Mark Freeman). The service is open to the community and once again we'd love to see you all come and join us to pay your respects."

There are no road closures or restrictions in place for the event.

Chris added: "We ask that both pedestrians and motorists show the appropriate courtesy to each other. The service should be no more than 30 minutes. The RBL thank local residents for their support during this service. At both services we're pleased to have former State Trumpeter, John Ravenor.

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"Also, at both services, there will be an opportunity for members of the public to lay wreaths and purchase memory crosses (for a small donation) to place in the gardens of remembrance."

On Saturday, June 8, the Leighton Buzzard branch has organised a celebration with The Buckinghamshire (Midshires) Band of the RBL at The Baptist Church, Hockliffe Street. The event starts at 7pm and tickets are £10 for adults or £5 for under 16s. Tickets are on the door.

Chris said: "Come along, wave a flag and maybe join in a bit of a singalong. It would be great to see you all and of course you'll be supporting the RBL."

Residents are also invited to step back to the 1940s on Friday, June 7, as the Heath and Reach Royal British Legion commemorate D-Day and "remember those who fought and gave their lives for our freedom".

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Commenting on social media, the Heath and Reach branch said: "Dance to the tunes of the big bands of the time and then sing along to the well known songs of the era performed by the lovely Lisa Hammond."

Residents can either pay on the door, or reserve a table for £12.50. Doors open at 7.30pm with live music starting at 8.30pm. All profits from the evening go to the RBL Poppy Appeal. Non members are welcome. Contact 01525 237923 or 07986545814.

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