Singing Second World War veteran honoured by giant 100th birthday message in Leicester Square

A giant birthday message to a 100-year-old Second World War veteran who recorded a wartime song to raise thousands of pounds for charity has been shown on a billboard in central London.

Charlie Pallett, who celebrated his centenary on Tuesday, has raised more than £28,000 for Help for Heroes after going behind the mic for a performance of Keep Right On To The End Of The Road.

A heart-warming video of the great-great-grandfather delivering the rousing rendition of one of his favourite songs while wearing his medals has received thousands of views online.

Mr Pallett, undaunted by being registered blind and wearing two hearing aids, previously said he wanted to “raise money for the lads, the guys I was with in the war”.

As a tribute to the veteran, who lives in Shepway, Kent, and who has a lifelong passion for singing, Help for Heroes arranged for a birthday message to be displayed on a large advertising screen in Leicester Square to be played once every minute for 24 hours on Tuesday.

Wishing him a happy birthday, it said: “WW2 hero Charlie Pallett turns 100 today, but he doesn’t want presents…”

Quoting Mr Pallett, it added: “Instead of presents, please donate to Help for Heroes because as a veteran, it’s a very special charity to me”.

The message was flanked by a photo of him as a young man as well as another image of him holding his birthday card from the Queen.

Speaking last month, the veteran said he was inspired by Captain Sir Tom Moore.

Born in Derbyshire, Mr Pallett’s family moved to Burnley, Lancashire, when he was a baby.

After working in the coal mines, he had just got a job as a lorry driver when in 1939, at the age of 18, he received a letter telling him he had been called up.

During the war he served as a driver and later as a dispatch rider in the 53rd Welsh Division and 52nd Lowland Division, eventually rising to the rank of corporal.

His service took him to the north of Germany, where he broke his ankle, before going out to Singapore.

It was while he was stationed in Maidstone, Kent, that he met his future wife, Madge, and they married in 1943.

They were together for 76 years, living most of their married life in Maidstone, before she died in June 2019 at the age of 95.

After leaving the Army, Mr Pallett worked as a labourer, bus driver and postman, and ended up as a guillotine operator in a local printers.

He has three daughters, five grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and one great-great-granddaughter.

Help for Heroes Chief Executive Melanie Waters stands before a birthday message for Charlie Pallett's 100th birthday

Carole Groves, national senior fundraising manager at Help for Heroes, said: “For Charlie to ask for donations to help other war heroes instead of receiving cards and presents for his 100th birthday is so incredibly generous – and also timely as the past 12 months have been tougher than ever for veterans living with a life-changing injury or illness.

“We can’t stop watching his wonderful video, which warms the cockles of our hearts.

“By supporting veterans and their families Charlie is helping us give them the strength they need to live the lives they deserve.”

For more information about Mr Pallett’s fundraiser click here.