D-Day 80: Normandy Landings veteran cleans up beaches alongside young people for commemorations

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A Second World War veteran joined young people to clear the beaches of litter ahead of the D-Day commemorations for the 80th anniversary.

Arthur Reading, 99, helped a group of more than 50 people to remove 88kg of litter between the Hotwalls in Old Portsmouth and Clarence Pier - making sure the city was spick and span before the national memorial service on Wednesday.

Arthur Reading, 99, A D-Day veteran, helped young people to clean up the beaches in Southsea ahead of the Normandy Landings commemorations. Pictured is Arthur in the middle of the Lord Mayor and Mayoress of Portsmouth.Arthur Reading, 99, A D-Day veteran, helped young people to clean up the beaches in Southsea ahead of the Normandy Landings commemorations. Pictured is Arthur in the middle of the Lord Mayor and Mayoress of Portsmouth.
Arthur Reading, 99, A D-Day veteran, helped young people to clean up the beaches in Southsea ahead of the Normandy Landings commemorations. Pictured is Arthur in the middle of the Lord Mayor and Mayoress of Portsmouth. | Contributed

The Lord Mayor and Mayoress of Portsmouth also joined the group, put together by the local life chance charity Motiv8, outside the D-Day Story Museum. Mr Reading was a minesweeper and joined the invasion at the age of 19 - being deployed on HMS Ready, one of the first ship’s to reach France.

Arthur Reading alongside colleagues during the Second World War.Arthur Reading alongside colleagues during the Second World War.
Arthur Reading alongside colleagues during the Second World War. | Contributed
The Motiv8 team which conducted the beach clean in Southsea.The Motiv8 team which conducted the beach clean in Southsea.
The Motiv8 team which conducted the beach clean in Southsea. | Contributed

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Arthur and his family shared stories with volunteers about his time in the Royal Navy and gave first-hand accounts of what happened. This included the heroic tale of how he rescued an American paratrooper from the water. He gave his time to speak to young people and make sure the lessons learned from D-Day and the Second World War were never forgotten.

Motiv8 Youth Adviser Mackenzie Bird said: “We want to preserve the meaning of this day for young people - lest we forget. Today’s beach clean has helped us bring together many different communities to not only memorialise such a significant event and to help keep our beaches clean.”

The beach clean was supported by recruitment firm STR Group, ASDA, and Tesco, and coordinated with Southsea Beach Watch and Final Straw Foundation.

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