Alex Hurrell, Reporter
Thursday, October 4, 2012
An unusual raffle prize, worth £30,000, means that a second world war veteran who made Norfolk his home will always be remembered at a prestigious London venue.
Tony Ivany bought a raffle ticket during a visit to the Victory Service Club, in the heart of the West End at Marble Arch, which was raising money towards refurbishing some rooms.
And Mr Ivany, of Burgh Road, Aylsham, was delighted and surprised when he learned he had won the top prize - a chance to dedicate one of the newly-decorated rooms; an honour which normally costs £30,000.
The Victory, founded in 1907, has the largest membership of any military club in the country, boasting about 48,000 members drawn from the army, navy and RAF.
Mr Ivany decided to name the room in memory of his late father, Walter, who served as a gunner with the 166th Newfoundland Field Regiment Royal Artillery during the second world war.
Walter, who was born and grew up in Newfoundland, joined the regiment in Britain while working in Norfolk in the forestry industry. He was based in Holt and Mundesley and also saw service in Africa and Italy.
Tony, who runs a furniture dealer’s and removals business, said the Ivany family had moved from England to Newfoundland, an island off the east coast of Canada, in 1701.
His father had married a Cromer girl and settled in England after the war, working at a Wroxham woodyard. Tony is one of the couple’s six children.
Walter did not go back to visit Newfoundland until after he was retired.
“The club was everso pleased with the choice of regiment because it’s a bit different - they haven’t had that before. The Newfoundlands were pleased too at getting a bit of recognition,” said Tony, who served in the 1st battalion East Anglian Regiment, based at Bury St Edmunds, during the early 1960s.
Tony was invited recently to stay at the club and see the plaque, which also bears the Newfoundland regiment’s cap badge,
He said: “It was quite emotional to see a plaque on the wall of such a prestigious place with my father’s name on it. I felt proud and privileged.”