Back home, nobody is interested in us. – D-Day Veteran 94 years old

pb-110606-d-day-01.photoblog900I, like many across the UK, have been reading today about the 70th Anniversary of the D-day landings and the events talking place in Normandy over the next few days. All the pictures of the veterans in their uniforms and reading about their heroism fills me with absolute pride – but then one quote I came across filled me with a different set of emotions. Here it is:

From the Daily Mirror 6th June – One 94-year-old, Neville Foote, tells the paper: “One of the reasons it’s wonderful to be here is because everyone is interested in you. Back home, nobody is interested in us. We’re just old people. I am sometimes asked to go to schools to talk, but the children don’t know about the war.”

I am not an emotionally charged person, Mrs B will be the first to attest to that, but the tragedy of this statement hit me hard. Commemoration is great but continued respect is far better. I have been trying to think about what we can do to ensure that these veterans do not feel that our interest and continued admiration for their efforts is fleeting. Unfortunately we have little influence and not much to give but here is a copy of an email sent to the Normandy Veterans Association.


To the Normandy Veterans Association

Dear General Secretary,

I am sure that this is a busy time of year for you and the veterans but I felt compelled to extend an invitation to you and the members of the Normandy Veterans Association.

I was reading today (6th June 2014) an article originating from the Daily Mirror in which one of your members made the following quote. “One of the reasons it’s wonderful to be here is because everyone is interested in you.Back home, nobody is interested in us. We’re just old people.” The tragedy and injustice of this statement is the reason I make contact now.

We are a normal family that includes me, my wife Emily and son Lucan (who is 3). I have been trying to think about what we can do to show you that we are ‘interested’ in your veterans and that most people do not just think of you as ‘Just old people’.

Unfortunately, as you might expect, we have neither the means nor influence to make any grand gesture, as we would like. However, we do write a blog whose activities have allowed us to put on an event called the British Family Fayre ( The event is a family day out in Westerham, Kent (former home of Sir Winston Churchill) and is expected to attract over 6,000 people this year. It is a celebration of British manufacturing featuring some well known British brands, great entertainment and fantastic food & drink.

My family and I would like to invite you, with your families, to join us on the 30th August 2014. We will orgainse transportation and accommodation for any of your members wanting to join us. We will also provide food and drink for you and your families throughout the day and try to arrange anything else within our power to help you attend and enjoy the day.

We have no desire for you to be ‘on show’ during your time with us. We would simply love your members to join us as our guests and have a great day out with their families.

I, by no means, expect an immediate response from you and I will follow this email contact up with a letter in the coming weeks outlining further details. We will not be offended if your members are not able to take us up on this offer, for whatever reason, but hope that our small gesture goes some way to extending our continued gratitude and respect.

Yours Faithfully,


James, Emily and Lucan Bradshaw


What can you do to show the veterans that you are ‘interested’ in them?

– James




  1. Tim Pilling says

    This is a fine gesture from the Bradshaws. I’ve been moved like never before as I’ve listened today’s coverage of D-day celebrations on the BBC. Just look at Britain today! We don’t deserve what we’ve got today unless we always remember the sacrifices of these wonderful people. What would those who have given their lives for our freedom, be thinking if they could see what’s happening to Britain under the EU?

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  2. That is a wonderful letter. What a kind gesture. It is so sad the gentleman feels like that. Not only as a veteran but as an old person.
    I venerate ‘old’ people. To me mature people are a source of wisdom and story and should be treasured.
    I do know my children, educated in Surrey, were taught about the Blitz and Home Front in junior school and about the wars in secondary school. I guess that Britain does not want to appear ‘jingoistic’ and this criticism often seems to be leveled by some parties when there is a show pride or remembrance celebration. Such rhetoric fails to truly appreciate the sacrifice, determination and courage of the people involved on our behalf.

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  3. We’re sending you some Tregothnan English grown tea for the event – sorry we can’t provide the cake too! Extraordinary gesture James #proudBrits

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  4. What a lovely letter and thoughtful gesture. I hope some Veterans will be able to make it on August 30th, and I for one would love to have a chat and a smile with them and share a lovely day out with them. We will never forget what our Father’s and families did for us during those wars and should cherish all connected. x

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