Cash boost for D-Day but no word on Obama

POISED Soldiers crowd a landing craft on their way to Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944
POISED Soldiers crowd a landing craft on their way to Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944

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SUMMER concerts and art projects could be held in Portsmouth next year to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

It comes after the council was awarded £290,000 in funding to do special things for the historic occasion.

It’s part of a £1.2m pot of cash that’s been split between the council and three others which will all use their share to put on a series of projects and events.

The other organisations involved in the Interreg IVA programme are Portsmouth’s twin city Caen, The Orchestre Regional de Basse-Normandie and Memorial de Caen.

Interreg is an initiative that encourages cooperation between regions in the European Union.

Portsmouth’s council leader, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said: ‘It’s important that the EU is providing funding for us to remember the liberation of Europe which started here in Portsmouth.

‘I can think of nothing that is more important than to remember that, so I am pleased we are doing things.’

With the money, the council wants to commission an artist to work alongside one chosen by the Memorial on new artwork about D-Day in the city.

Bournemouth Sympthony Orchestra and ORBN will work together creating songs about veterans and residents’ memories of the D-Day landings, resulting in a performance.

The ORBN has also asked the BSO to provide extra musicians for several performances of Karl Jenkins’ work The Armed Man in Normandy from June 5 to 9 next year.

Two debates about D-Day could be held in Portsmouth, with one directly linked to a public event in Caen via satellite technology.

Themes that could be discussed include the landings being the start of a New Europe.

Stronger links will also be forged between the D-Day Museum, in Southsea, and Memorial de Caen.

The council is also looking to get funding from elsewhere so it can put on even more activities.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson said: ‘We bid for money from outside the city all the time for lots and lots of projects – some bids are successful and some are not.’

As previously reported, Cllr Vernon-Jackson has asked the White House if US President Barack Obama will come over next year for the D-Day commemorations – but has received no reply yet.

‘I haven’t heard anything back yet,’ Cllr Vernon-Jackson said.

‘I am not sure if he will (visit) or not, but it was right to ask.’


FOREIGN representatives who encourage people in the US and Canada to visit places in the UK have been given a tour of Portsmouth.

Staff who work for Visit Britain’s offices in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto were shown around Old Portsmouth and The D-Day Museum, Southsea, which was important because of the role it will play in next year’s D-Day commemorations.

They also visited the Spinnaker Tower, The Mary Rose Museum and HMS Victory.

Jane Singh, the council’s visitor services and development manager, said: ‘They were really impressed.

‘They all were wowed by the extraordinary piece of art that is the Overlord Embroidery at the D-Day Museum.’