"It means more to me than life itself" - Cornwall D-Day veteran on new British Normandy Memorial

  • Watch Jacquie Bird's report

On the 77th anniversary of the D-Day landings this weekend, a memorial will be unveiled in Normandy to honour more than 20,000 to British servicemen who lost their lives.

Cornwall veteran Harry Billing is one of the people who has helped to make it happen, having spent years fundraising for the project.

The 95-year-old from St Austell had always planned to be in France for the unveiling of the £30million memorial but the pandemic halted those hopes.

Instead he will watch from home, with the Normandy Memorial Trust by his side as his years of fundraising coming to fruition.

Harry has been collecting money for the British Normandy Memorial from a spot at Par Market in St Austell for the past three years.

He has raised tens of thousands of pounds and has been rewarded for his fundraising efforts with an MBE from the Queen.

Harry has been collecting money from a spot at Par Market in St Austell for the last three. Credit: ITV News

"I lost a lot of mates. Good men. Young men. The youngest man, boy, was a bloke called Jack Banks, (he was) 16," Harry said.

"He's buried in a little cemetery called Jerusalem. It's in the village by Caen, Bayeux. I go there every day when I'm over there. I put a cross on his grave and a wreath on the memorial.

"As soon as they told me they was going to make the memorial, I started collecting. I get overwhelmed. I had a chappie here last week put £40 in my tin. His father was killed on Gold Beach.

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