Town Marks 80th Anniversary of D-Day

The 80th anniversary of D-Day was marked in Henley by the lighting of the beacon at Makins Recreation Ground and with parties at Bluebells Day Centre and Chilterns Court Care Home.

The beacon lighting was organised by the Gainsborough Residents Association who offered refreshments and the Henley Branch of the Royal British Legion with a display of an old army jeep and a stall selling special D-Day anniversary pin badges.

Chair of Gainsborough Residents Association, David Eggleton said, “It is a great honour to be asked to light the beacon today.  I’ve heard so many stories today when Richard Pinches and I were in Market Place today with the Royal British Legion stall which has been heart-moving.  They gave their today for our tomorrow.  So it’s very emotional for me, because we wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for their sacrifices.”

A minute’s silence followed.

Henley Mayor, Councillor Rory Hunt said: “One of the most poignant days of WW2.  A day that, without which we wouldn’t be here today as Councillor Eggleton rightly said.  There will be people from Henley and some of your families that died or who died on that day.  We owe them a debt that will never be repaid.

South Oxfordshire District Councillor, Kellie Hinton said, “I would like to thank Dave and the Gainsborough Residents Association and Richard from British Legion for putting on this beacon lighting event to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day.  This is obviously part of national beacon lighting.  There are hundreds of towns taking part.  There are several taking part in our County and in our District.  I’m really really proud to attend one in Henley to mark this event and to remember to keep the word alive. To keep spreading the information and the history.  In recent years we all got a slight taste of what it is like to lose our freedom.  It was nothing compared to the sacrifices that were made by the people that came before us.”

Caroline Newton, Conservative Candidate standing for Conservatives said, “I’d like to think that I’m here representing all of the candidates standing for election here and elsewhere because the one thing that we have been reminded about today that what these amazing people were fighting for and took to the beaches on D-Day and in other wars and since.  I think we absolutely have to remember that incredible gift that we have in democracy and it is a fragile gift.  We have to tend it really carefully and we have to fight it fiercely for moderate, respectful discussion and even when we disagree about what we are trying to achieve we can respectfully disagree about how we might do it.  That’s the one lesson I would like to take from today and echo Kellie’s thanks to Dave and everyone for allowing me to join you today.”

Resident Pru Sly said, “We’ve come along today because it is nice to do something to mark such a special occasion.  We went to Dunkirk a couple of years ago and went to the beaches and spent quite a lot of today and yesterday watching TV programmes about it.  It is important that we mark these occasions.”


The Bluebells Day Care Centre, held twice weekly at Christ Church on the Reading Road, enjoyed a fabulous party on Monday 3 June, to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D Day Landings.  Bluebells members, friends and family, and volunteers were all invited to the centre to enjoy the afternoon together, and treated to sandwiches, homemade scones and cake.

The wonderful Close Knit Band, Mark, Elaine and Jenny, especially put together an hour long set of songs from the war era, including old favourites like Roll out the Barrel, The Siegfried Line, We’ll meet Again and Tipperary.  The trio had everyone singing along, entertained with stories about the songs origins, accompanied with a ukulele, recorder and kazoo.  Quite a few of the Bluebells members even got up to dance.

The afternoon ended with a raffle and auction, with generous donations to the Bluebells charity.

As Julia Yeo, one of the Bluebells staff quite rightly said, ‘A great time was had by all!’

Chilterns Court Care Home

At Chilterns Court Care Home the residents enjoyed afternoon tea, a sing-a-long of war time songs and poem read about a young lad in the war which was given by one of our resident’s daughter.  The party was in memory of former resident Dickie Charlton who was in 4th Battalion Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in WW2 and was taken a prisoner of war after the Battle of Cassell in May 1940 who sadly passed 10 days ago at the age of 103.

Kate Wilson, Activities Co-ordinator said, “Obviously we have a large number of residents who are over the age of 85 and therefore they have some remembrance around the war. We wanted to make sure that D-Day was something that was acknowledged and we wanted to give it a positive reflection.  At the time of preparation for the party we were blessed to have Dickie with us at the age of 103 but he just missed reaching his birthday and today.  We’re doing it in memory of him.”





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