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Kindness of neighbours makes Haverhill war veteran's VE Day a memorable one



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Haverhill’s only surviving D-Day veteran was bowled over last week to receive a commemorative VE Day 75 card signed by most of the people that live on his street.

Not only did 95-year-old Ron Mayes, of Paske Avenue, receive the card from next door neighbour Angela Wilson (who made it herself), he was also treated to some 1940s style tea and cake.

Ron said: “She got the neighbours to hand it to each other, passed around Paske Avenue from house to house. How wonderful.

Ron Mayes with the VE Day 75 card signed by almost every household on his street and the special tea that was delivered to his house
Ron Mayes with the VE Day 75 card signed by almost every household on his street and the special tea that was delivered to his house

“I think there are 20 signatures on the card and there are 24 houses in the street.

“Two to three have changed hands recently but there’s nigh on 20 messages on there.

“Isn’t it wonderful, what a surprise.

“I never dreamed that this would have happened when they came in on that afternoon.

“I was so surprised. I never expected to get anything like that.”

Angela said that Ron had been looking forward to all the celebrations that had been planned for VE Day last Friday and was ‘very disappointed when they were all cancelled’.

She added: “The card made up in a small way for Ron missing the celebration and also let him know that the people of Paske Avenue and the rest of the UK are truly thankful to him and all the service men and women who risked their lives for all of us in Worls War Two.”

Ron added that another ‘little bonus’ to come from the card’s delivery was the desire expressed by a young newcomer to the street –and passed on to him via Mrs Wilson – to visit him so he could chat to him and learn more about the World War Two and the part that he played in it.

Widower and great-grandfather Ron was a 19-year-old soldier with the 2nd Battalion King’s Shropshire Light Infantry when he landed on Sword Beach, near Hermonville, on June 6, 1944 – an operation that will forever be known as the D-Day landings.

He was wounded by shrapnel just three hours after landing in Normandy.

In October 2017 he was awarded the Légion d’honneur (Chevalier class) by the French Government.

It is the highest distinction for military service given by the French Government.