Top French awards for Midhurst and Petworth war veterans

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Two war veterans from the Midhurst and Petworth area have received France’s highest military honour, La Legion d’honneur.

Easebourne resident and Normandy veteran 92 year old Tony Fairminer was taken to the Royal Navy’s headquarters at Whale Island, Portsmouth where he received the decoration at a special ceremony.

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The honour is awarded by the French honorary Consul on behalf of the French ambassador, in recognition of the involvement of war veterans in the liberation of France during the second world war.

Tony was also involved with escorting the Arctic convoys.

George Goodchild, 95, originally from Wisborough Green celebrated the honour of receiving his medal at a special ceremony at Rotherlea care home in Petworth, surrounded by his friends, family, residents and staff members.

George’s family decorated a special room at the care home with blue, white and red paper chains, French flags handmade by residents and maps of France.

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Boards were also on display detailing George’s life history and his involvement in World War II. George’s daughter, Sheila Atkinson also made a cake with a replica medal made from icing.

Speaking at the event, Sheila said: “Dad was thrilled to receive the medal and was so excited to share the good news with us and everyone else at the home.

“He truly is an incredible man who has survived the horrors of war and lived to tell the tale.

“We’re all glad that he has been recognised in such a prestigious manner and it only felt right that we all came together to mark this important honour for Dad.

“Three generations were at the party to present him with the medal, which proved to be the icing on the cake for him, saying that the memory will ‘last him a lifetime’.”

George joined the Royal Army Ordnance Corps in 1941. He was posted at several barracks in London before volunteering for oversees duty and journeying across the Channel to Arromanches, Normandy, or ‘Gold Beach’ as it was code-named.

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