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Lottery Winners’ Tribute to Dunkirk Veterans

Last Updated: Wednesday 9th July 2014, 15:48 pm

National Lottery winners from across the UK have teamed up to create a new memorial for World War II veterans. 35 winners with a combined wealth of over £50 million have contributed to a memorial which commemorates 75 years since the successful Dunkirk evacuation.

Imported sand from the beach of Dunkirk and newly-constructed sea groynes have been installed at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire to recreate the beaches of France from which hundreds of thousands of English and Allied servicemen were rescued from the advancing German army.

The lottery winners were praised for their efforts by Dunkirk veteran Norman Lewis, 94, who said, “It’s very emotional being here and seeing the project unfold. I think it’s a wonderful design and really emulates the beaches at Dunkirk.

“They have done a fantastic job in creating a lasting memorial to an important moment in British wartime history.”

Among the lottery winners helping to construct the memorial was Andy Garth from Stockton, who won £1 million in 2012. He said, “All the splinters and blisters have been worth it and the end result is suitably fitting to mark the experiences and bravery that those soldiers faced on the beaches of Dunkirk.”

James Shallcross, assistant curator at the National Memorial Arboretum, said, “The Arboretum recognises all those who have fallen fighting on behalf of us all.

"We are very grateful to our Lottery volunteers who have worked so hard."

The 1940 Dunkirk evacuation, code-named Operation Dynamo, involved the rescue of thousands of Allied soldiers who had been cut off and surrounded by the German army during the Battle of France. Nearly 340,000 soldiers were brought back to the UK in just nine days using a flotilla of over 800 army and civilian vessels in one of the most remarkable missions of the Second World War.

This latest act of generosity from lottery winners follows the gift from Ray and Barbara Wragg, from Sheffield, who have provided the funds for a group of Second World War veterans to visit Monte Cassino in Italy next May to pay their respects to their fallen comrades. The couple won £7.6 million on the Lotto in January 2000 and have given most of their winning to charities, friends and families.

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