D-Day veteran is guest of honour at Portsmouth networking event

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BUSINESS people were humbled by the presence of a D Day veteran at a networking event.

LinkedIn Local returned to the Village Hotel in North Harbour for the fifth time on Thursday, 75 years on from D-Day – and the true star of the show was 94-year-old Bert Edwards.

LinkedIn Local organisers Carl Hewitt and Ian Gribble with D Day veteran Bert Edwards, from Portsmouth. Picture: Kimberly Barber

LinkedIn Local organisers Carl Hewitt and Ian Gribble with D Day veteran Bert Edwards, from Portsmouth. Picture: Kimberly Barber

Bert, from North End, was the event’s guest of honour as through the network, it was arranged for Bert to attend the main celebrations and even appear on stage in Southsea on Wednesday.

Bert was in the Royal Navy and served on board HMS Bellona off Omaha Beach on D-Day.

He said: ‘At the time it was a bit hairy but we were on one of the lucky ships.’

Bert, who was also part of the Russian Convoys, said he was so proud to have been part of this week’s commemoration events.

He said: ‘It was absolutely A1. Everybody was so kind and helpful. They couldn’t do enough for us.’

People who attend LinkedIn Local used their connections to make sure Bert, who goes to the Age UK Centre in Portsmouth, was not left out of the commemoration events.

LinkedIn Local is a business event that brings together people who use the social network so they can meet in person.

It is a global idea that began in Australia but it has taken off across the globe, especially in Portsmouth where hundreds of people attend each event.

Ian Gribble, co-organiser, said: ‘Today we have a very important visitor - Bert Edwards.

‘We should pay tribute to him and his generation as their sacrifices gave us our today.’

LinkedIn Local was also marking its first anniversary.

Ian said: ‘We held the first LinkedIn Local a year ago tomorrow.

‘In that time so many people have come to the five events.

‘We hear so many stories of people meeting and building relationships and collaborating, and off the back of that business is done.

‘But for us it is more than just a networking event. We give back to charities and promote them. ‘Over the last year we have raised £7,500 for charity.

Last night’s event, sponsored by My VIP Card and Southern Solutions, raised £1,551 for Enable Ability, a Portsmouth-based charity that helps children and young people with disabilities.