City deserves to be focus of tributes for D-Day heroes

COMMENT: All agencies must to held to account for Anne Savidge’s tragic death

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We’ve done it before and we can do it again. Portsmouth has rightly got a reputation for hosting huge events that draw the gaze of the eyes of the world.

We dazzled with the spectacular International Festival of the Sea in 2005, an event that lives long in the memory of anyone who drank in the sight of the world’s naval might assembling off our shore.

And we became the focus of the literary world last year when we pulled out all the stops to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens

Our proven track record of handling these events, our experience of them and the enthusiasm of people in our area to embrace them surely bode well for Portsmouth to become, as the city council would like, a focal point for next year’s 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings. As we report today, there are encouraging signs that those in government agree.

A £1m grant from the European Union has been awarded to fund, among other events, a link-up with Caen around the time of the commemorations.

It is a big win for the city and a huge vote of confidence that Portsmouth is the right place to honour the Allied forces whose bravery and sacrifice helped secure our freedom from the tyranny of Hitler.

Our D-Day Museum, of which we are justifiably proud, is already a magnificent tribute to them and an important means of making sure their story can be handed down from generation to generation.

Separately to the commemorations decision, a £3m bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund is key to its modernisation – and we can be reasonably confident that it will be looked upon favourably.

How magnificent it would be to honour the heroes of 70 years ago in a city that has indelible links to them, loves staging big events and has a respected and hopefully revamped museum dedicated to their story.

There would be no greater honour than to become the focal point as the world marks such a significant milestone. And there can be no greater city than Portsmouth to be awarded it.