We wanted to give Don a chance to tell his stories with people who would really understand what he was saying, and as he was about to turn 100 years old it seemed their couldn’t be a better time.
Don knew he was getting a party, but he didn’t realise the immense amount of effort the wonderful Kings Lynn Residential team had put into it, until Friday.
In particular our wonderful Jo Taylor who spent a total of three months contacting and arranging, to ensure Don had the best birthday ever.
The deputy mayor of Kings Lynn – the wonderful Geoff Hipperson and his wife Rose – joined Don and his friends at the home on Friday afternoon. They were accompanied by fellow veterans from the Shoeburyness and South Essex Branch Royal Artillery Association.
Don was also honoured by the presence of a familiar sight; the same type of gun he fired in the Second World War. As soon as he saw it in the home’s carpark he walked straight over and took up what must be a familiar position, he looked right at home perched in the seat of a weapon he has used many times in the past.
He said: “Last time I fired one of these I was shooting a plane that was trying to get a Belgian battalion in their tanks. He didn’t get them”.
Don was part of the royal infantry throughout the conflict, and took part in the British Expeditionary Force Landings in Dunkirk and the D-Day landings as part of the second wave.
He received his telegram from the Queen for turning one hundred, as well as a birthday card from the Master Gunner. He was also joined by one of his three children and his wife who had a lovely time also.
Don is a hero of World War 2 and one of very few survivors still living. We are very proud of his contributions to the free world and are humbled that as a residential setting we were able to show him how much he means to us, by giving him the best party we possibly could.
The team at Kings Lynn did a fantastic job arranging, picking up supplies, decorating, and making contacts which have now become friends. Don was also joined by the film crew from ITV Anglia – if you’d like to see their report please click here and watch the footage from this fantastic event.