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Ashford Borough Council marking 80th Anniversary of D-Day

Published: 22/05/2024
A floral spitfire

Thursday 6 June 2024 marks the 80th anniversary of D-Day, when allied forces mounted the largest amphibious invasion the world has ever witnessed.

Codenamed Operation Overlord, the events on 6 June 1944 saw around 4,000 ships and landing craft set down about 132,500 troops on five Normandy beaches in an action that would bring about the liberation of north-west Europe from Nazi occupation.

The UK will commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Normandy Landings with a series of major commemorations and events across the UK and in France. Given Ashford’s strong military links a programme of activities are being planned in the borough:

  • Thursday 6 June - D Day 80 Flag Raising Ceremony at 9am at the Civic Centre.
  • Thursday 6 June – D Day 80 Commemorative Ceremony at 11am in Memorial Gardens which will also mark the installation of the Floral Spitfire back into the gardens. This event will be hosted by the Mayor, with the service being led by the RBL Chaplain Rev. Dr Sue Starkings. We are planning to have a primary school choir perform and also for some secondary school pupils to read out the specially written D Day 80 School Poem.
  • Thursday 6 June – D Day 80 Beacon Lighting at 9.15pm in Civic Park – The Mayor will announce the lighting of Ashford’s Civic Memorial Beacon and will then read out the International Tribute.
  • We will also shortly be sending out D Day educational activity sheets – with a special focus on the Ashford area - to all the primary schools in the borough.

Cllr Heather Hayward, Chair of the Civic Events Advisory Committee, said: “Given Ashford’s strong military history and links, it is important that Ashford Borough Council, and the borough as a whole, comes together to mark this significant historical anniversary.

“As well as a programme of events, we have created a D Day 80 web page with further information on the anniversary and its significance, are sending out an educational pack to schools.  We are also encouraging parishes and villages to tell us about the events that they are organising locally so that they can also be promoted on our dedicated D Day webpage and via our social channels.

Organising an event in the Ashford Borough?

Please let us know if your village, parish or community will be lighting a beacon so that it can be added to a borough–wide map of D-Day 80 events and activities by completing the D-Day 80 public event form.