Honour for those who keep memories alive

TWO 'indomitable spirits' have been honoured for their nine-year campaign to add the names of 621 World War Two heroes to the town's war memorial. Reg Driver, 84, and Peter Thompson, 70, were presented with Gold Star awards by the Evening Star and Ipswich Borough Council for their fundraising work and determination to honour those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

TWO 'indomitable spirits' have been honoured for their nine-year campaign to add the names of 621 World War Two heroes to the town's war memorial.

Reg Driver, 84, and Peter Thompson, 70, were presented with Gold Star awards by the Evening Star and Ipswich Borough Council for their fundraising work and determination to honour those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

Their battle ended when the names were finally unveiled at a poignant ceremony at the memorial in Christchurch Park on May 17.

Penny Breakwell, Mayor of Ipswich Borough Council, and Mike Pennock, deputy editor of The Evening Star presented the awards to the men at the town hall yesterday.

Cllr Breakwell also presented an 'unsung hero' award to Mr Thompson.

She said: "They are indomitable spirits. They have persevered and not given up.

Most Read

"It has been a long long fight and The Evening Star and Ipswich Borough Council want to say a very big thank you."

Mr Pennock said the work of the men had ensured the stories of the war heroes had lived on.

He added: "As the anniversary of D-Day approaches it is appropriate we can say thank you on behalf of ourselves and our readers for keeping those stories alive."

The pair raised £85,000 to get the names added.

Reg Driver, of The Lawns near Rushmere Road, is President of the Ipswich branch of the Royal British Legion. He said the campaign to get the names added started in 1995.

He said: "It is an honour and a bit of a surprise. I knew Peter and I had worked hard but this honour is for all those involved.

"The memorial belongs to the people of Ipswich and it is a permanent record of the ultimate sacrifice."

Mr Driver served as a sergeant with the Royal Corps Signals in the Near East during the war. He was taken prisoner in 1942 and was liberated in Germany in 1945.

He said: "It also has a personal element for me. There are seven names of lads I went to school with on the memorial."

Peter Thompson, of Thurleston Lane, is the branch's chairman. He served in the Royal Navy from 1953-1960.

He said: "I did not expect this award. I had about 35 members of my family in both wars and they all came back.

"I can imagine what it must have been like to have lost relatives. This had to be done."

*A Book of Remembrance containing the names of those from Ipswich who died the First World War is kept available for inspection at the Tourist Information centre in St Stephen's Lane. The centre is open from Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm.

What do you think of their achievement? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter