Projects given cash boost to help mark 70 years since D-Day

BRAVERY British troops storm ashore in Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944
BRAVERY British troops storm ashore in Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944

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A MEMORIAL to one of the most important strategic units in the Second World War is among projects to benefit from D-Day funding.

Hampshire County Council has handed out £50,000 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day and, as reported earlier this week, the First World War.

More than 50 community projects will benefit from cash grants of between £200 and £2,000.

The Combined Operations Pilot-age and Reconnaissance Parties (COPP), was set up in 1943 by Lord Mountbatten and based on Hayling Island.

Robin Walton is the founder and chairman of the Copp Heroes Memorial Association, on Hayling island. The association was awarded £970 to complete the granite memorial on Hayling seafront and to pay for a celebration ahead of D-Day in May.

Mr Walton said: ‘The Coppists were an invaluable support on the first day of D-Day.

‘They went on reconnaissance on the beaches and went in on midget submarines. They led the invasion fleets in.

‘We hope to finish the landscaping in time for May 22 when we will have the final commemoration.’

Other projects to win awards include the annual WemsFest arts festival which takes place across Westbourne and Emsworth.

The organisers will be holding workshops creating collages which will be displayed in libraries across the borough.

Other projects include:

n Christ Church, Portsdown – £450.

n Friends of Droxford Church – £950.

n Portchester Community Association – £1,565.

The Spring arts and heritage centre, and the Clanfield Institute were among groups which won funding for First World War commemoration projects.

Councillor Keith Chapman, who is in charge of culture, recreation and countryside at the county council, said: ‘Hampshire and its communities played a unique and internationally significant role during both the First World War and D-Day.

‘These grants have been awarded for projects that engage communities in the commemorations and help them understand the role of their local area.’

He said the commemorations will go on throughout until 2018 and added: ‘The county council is working in partnership with the National Museum of the Royal Navy to mark the one hundredth anniversary of the Gallipoli Campaign in 2015 and bring back 
to life the historic HMS Monitor M33.’