Darlington campaigner and fundraiser Peter Longstaff has turned his attention to gaining veterans medals for his fellow residents at Care UK’s Ventress Hall who served their country.
The HM Armed Forces Veterans’ Lapel Badge was launched in May 2004 by the then Minister for Veterans, to raise the profile of veterans by assisting the wider public to recognise them.
The badge is an enamelled, engraved, and pinned, lapel badge featuring the words “HM Armed Forces – Veteran”, which encompass the Tri-Service, Anchor, Crossed Swords and Eagle motif. Its symbolism is intended to unite all veterans in recognising the commonality of their service, to encourage a sense of unity and community between surviving veterans and to ignite public recognition of our veterans and their continuing contribution to society.
Peter, who was a Royal Naval supply officer, said: “Everyone who has served, in whatever capacity, is linked together by a common bond. At Ventress Hall I am lucky to share these bonds with several other residents and I wanted them to be able to wear a badge with pride that showed everyone the service they had given their country.”
Peter has helped a number of residents apply for their badges and he is currently helping more through the process.
During World War II John Fay served in the RAF at Bomber Command Headquarters where he twice met the command’s famous leader Arthur “Bomber” Harris.
John, who was an aircraftsman first class, said: “I’d like to thank Peter for encouraging me to apply for the badge. I felt great pride on receiving my badge and it brought back many memories.”
Gladys Trevor was a leading aircraft woman in the Women’s Auxiliary Airforce in the war. Gladys said she was very, very proud to receive her badge and she laughed when she remembered her early days in the service: “They just used to throw your uniform at you when you arrived and that included the underwear!”
Danny Robson travelled all over the world as a chef with the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers and he too was delighted with the badge.
Ventress Hall manger Judy Wray said: “Peter is a very special man and I think it is incredible that he has helped other people to obtain the Veterans Badge that acknowledges their contributions.
“Each of our residents are special individuals but there is certainly a bond between those who have served and it is a bond we are delighted to celebrate.”