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  • STEVE COOKE AATA

Celebrating real heroes


During these times of pandemic, we are all taking inspiration from our heroic carers, those who selflessly devote their lives to supporting our wellbeing. Real heroes who are replacing vacuous ‘celebrities’ in the media spotlight.


This phenomenon has synergy with the upcoming 75th Anniversary of V.E. Day. A time to remember another group of people to whom we all owe a debt of gratitude. Putting aside the celebrities of the day and ignoring the inevitable jingoism there are numerous inspirational stories about ordinary people who were the real heroes of their day.


A valuable source of such stories is ‘The Last Heroes: Voices of British and Commonwealth Veterans’ by Gary Bridson-Daley, about to appear in its 2nd Revised Edition, published by History Press. A book of stories about people who were there and are still here.


The last story from the book is of a lady called Joy Hunter who worked at the epi-centre of WW2 power at the Westminster War Rooms, she typed the D-Day battle orders for the Supreme Command and for its highest level planning Generals. On V.E Day she was actually one of those you see in the crowd in front of Buckingham Palace when the King and Queen came out to greet the cheering thousands of people with Winston Churchill whom Joy knew from her work at the War Rooms.


Gary has interviewed over 100 WW2 Veterans and has spoken to them about the present Coronavirus Pandemic and some of the comparisons about the country having to pull together to get through it, essentially adopting their 'Wartime Spirit'.


Gary also tells me, ‘I have been working closely with the RNIB - Royal National Institute for the Blind, who as a Non-for-Profit Charity have with mine and my publisher’s permission now recorded an audio book version of The Last Heroes again in time for this 75th and all other big WW2 Anniversaries this year, and as the copyright holder I have given permission for it to be stored and used in their free audio library for the blind that is available to and benefits according to RNIB figures 120,000 Blind and Partially sighted people in the U.K! This is something I am delighted with and am happy to give completely free of charge and especially during a time of lockdown and social isolation it is even more important than ever for those who have the huge additional burden of being blind on top of everything else right now, this is my gift to them, a charitable extension of my work which I hope will help a little during these very difficult times.’


Well done Gary, a highly recommended read/listen!

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