War veterans attend Christmas dinner in Sheffield to remember fallen comrades

War veterans from across the region have gathered in Sheffield to celebrate the festive season and remember those who lost their lives during combat.

Monday, 16th December 2019, 12:14 pm
Updated Monday, 16th December 2019, 4:15 pm

Former soldiers, including World War Two veterans and Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson, who lost both legs and suffered more than 40 injuries in a bomb attack in Afghanistan in 2006, attended the Christmas dinner event at Napoleons Casino, in Hillsborough, on December 15.

Organised by the Sheffield Parachute Regimental Association Branch, the event is now in its third year and aims to honour those who have fought in past military operations.

Guests included ex-servicemen who fought in World War Two operations such as Operation Overlord, also known as the D-Day landings, and Operation Market Garden, aka the Battle of Arnhem, as well as those who fought in the Falklands war and more recent campaigns in Afghanistan.

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The Lord Mayor of Sheffield, councillor Tony Downing, and the Lady Mayoress Val Downing, pictured attending the Sheffield PRA Christmas Dinner at Napoleons Casino. Picture: Marie Caley

Lee Green, chairman of the Sheffield PRA, said: “It was a fantastic day. As it is the 75th anniversary of D-Day we handed out hampers to the veterans.

“The event was organised to give thanks, to remember the fallen and those who made the ultimate sacrifice but as a way to look after those who are still here. Some of the veterans are now 100-years-old. One of the attendees, named Tommy Hicks, was one of the last people to be captured on Arnhem Bridge.

“He was a railwayman at the time of the war so didn’t actually have to fight, but he volunteered himself to go to war. It’s great to support these veterans and give thanks but to also remember the service personnel who are currently serving and are away over Christmas.”

During the day the veterans were treated to a Christmas black light display with a special surprise performance by the Yorkshire Corps of Drums - a group made up of both military and non-military personnel who played traditional drum and fife music.

Ben Parkinson, pictured with Tony Wakeman, President of Sheffield PRA. Picture: Marie Caley NSST-15-12-19-SheffieldPara Christmas 3-NMSY

The Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Tony Downing, and his wife, the Lady Mayoress Val Downing, were also in attendance alongside Ben’s mother Diane Dernie and her husband Andy.

City Taxis provided travel free of charge for the Veterans while Napoleons Casino helped with the cost of the event.

The Lord Mayor of Sheffield, councillor Tony Downing and the Lady Mayoress, Val Downing, pictured with veterans at the Sheffield PRA Christmas Dinner at Napoleons Casino. Picture: Marie Caley NSST-15-12-19-SheffieldPara Christmas 2-NMSY
Veteran Frank Baugh, pictured with the Lord Mayor of Sheffield, councillor Tony Downing and the Lady Mayoress, Val Downing. Picture: Marie Caley NSST-15-12-19-SheffieldPara Christmas 1-NMSY
Councillor Tony Damms, SCC Military Champion, pictured with veteran Roy Ashton and his wife Trudie Ashton. Picture: Marie Caley NSST-15-12-19-SheffieldPara Christmas 5-NMSY