Shropshire Star

Shifnal to mark D-Day by welcoming visitors from French twin town

A Shropshire town is marking the 80th anniversary of D-Day with a series of tributes, including visitors from its French twin town.

Mayor Roger Cox with one of the D-Day lanterns and Rev Chris Thorpe ofSt Andrew’s Church wearing his father’s WW2 flying outfit.

Shifnal will observe the milestone on June 6 as part of the Anglo-French commemoration of the Normandy landings.

St Andrew’s Church will join a national bell ringing chorus at 6.30pm as part of the recognition of the day.

This will be followed by a parade from the Village Hall with a marching band and representatives of the Royal British Legion, cadets, scouts and uniformed organisations.

At 8.30pm there will be a special service in the church, laying of French and English wreaths and lighting of a ‘Lamp of Peace’ by the Mayor of Shifnal as part of a nationwide string of beacons representing the light that emerged from the darkness of war.

The Vice Lord Lieutenant of Shropshire Jenny Wynn will also attend the service.

Ruth Evans, chairman of Shifnal Twinning Association, commented: “We are delighted to be welcoming three members of the Union of Former Combatants from our twin town of Machecoul-Saint-Même on this significant occasion. We hope they enjoy their time with us.”

Rev Chris Thorpe, of St Andrew’s Church, said: “D-Day has always been important to me because of the link with my father. Ernest Thorpe flew a Horsa glider on to the Merville gun battery the night before D-Day. They were tasked with destroying the big guns that could threaten the landing beaches.

“He took me to the site when I was 15 in 1975 and it made a huge impression on me. This 80th anniversary will be a momentous one and we want to join with the national commemorations and to mark it well.”

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