OLD soldiers never die, they just fade away, goes the old ballad, and that’s exactly what has happened to Harold Payne’s veterans.
Over a period of 20 years Harold has raised about £500,000 in The Anglia Motel Cafe Pilgrimage Fund to pay for Normandy veterans from the district to make an annual pilgrimage to the old battle fields to commemorate their fallen comrades.
In that time, Harold says he has taken just over 1,000 veterans as well as 100 local schoolchildren, because he believes it is important that the younger generation understand the sacrifice – in Lincolnshire alone, 45,000 men lost their lives in the Second World War.
This year, just six veterans will make what will be the final return, leaving the Anglia Motel on June 1 for a seven-day trip – and other people can accompany them by paying £475 all inclusive.
Harold plans to continue to take wreaths on behalf of the veterans in future.