COMMENT: Inspiration from the young and not so young

If you have had a tough week and find you are in need of a little spiritual uplift, you need look no further than two stories in today's paper.

Saturday, 12th May 2018, 7:00 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 8:16 am
D-Day veterans (l to r), Arthur Bailey, John Jenkins, and Eric Drube. Picture Ian Hargreaves (180470-1) PPP-181105-172724006

The first is on Page 9 and is about the Princess Royal opening the new-look D-Day Museum – now re-styled the D-Day Story – at Southsea.

On that page you will see a marvellous picture of a trio of grinning D-Day veterans, all in their 90s, and judging by their looks, age has certainly not wearied them.

These are the men to whom the museum is dedicated.

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What they and tens of thousands of Allied troops endured from June 6, 1944, onwards cannot be imagined.

They will talk in general terms about their experiences on those bloody Normandy beaches and on through the various battles of mainland Europe, but of the horrors they all witnessed, never.

The museum is there for a purpose, so succeeding generations shall never forget what Arthur Bailey, John Jenkins, Eric Drube and all their mates – many who never came home – went through.

Just as importantly it puts modern Europe and the freedoms we all take for granted into some sort of historical perspective.

Our second source of inspiration today comes from a funeral, that of 16-year-old Bethany Tiller.

You cannot fail to be moved by her short life-story on Page 6.

She died of cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It was diagnosed in December 2016. A week after she was given the all-clear, it returned. It was Bethany who made the decision to stop treatment and leave hospital.

At her funeral her dad David said: ‘For anyone to make that decision takes bravery, especially at 16 years of age.’

And when you read of the legacy she has left behind, the impact she had on her many friends, you can see she was a very special young woman.

So, Arthur, John, Eric and Beth, we salute you. In your very different ways you are an inspiration to us all.