Military truck brings wartime spirit on VE Day during lockdown
PUBLISHED: 16:32 08 May 2020 | UPDATED: 16:32 08 May 2020
With plans for VE Day cancelled by the coronavirus lockdown, one man brought wartime spirit to those stuck at home with an ex-military truck.
Hoping to raise money and support the Royal British Legion alongside his friends at the Swan Inn in Beccles, 62-year-old Mark Berry, who served in the Royal Anglian regiment in the 1970s, took his 1952 model umbrella truck on a tour of Beccles.
“I drove it around the village to all the people who are stuck in their bungalows and houses, to give them a bit of a lift,” he said.
“It was a last minute thing to happen really, so we didn’t advertise it and just surprised everyone by driving past their houses and playing 1940s music like Vera Lynn and the D-Day darlings.
“It’s just a bit of a fun thing to do while keeping no contact - we were all dressed in 1940s fashion too.”
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Mr Berry uses the truck for his business, Berry’s Oils, and was keen to do his bit to raise money for the Royal British Legion and support other businesses by parking up at the Swan Inn’s socially distanced afternoon tea.
He said: “I didn’t mind changing my bank holiday for such a memorial day as today. I know people loved seeing the truck and we raised some money as we went around. We had people waving and taking photos, it was a good surprise and that’s what it is all about.”
At the Swan Inn the truck stopped to greet those who came along to try some afternoon tea, served in 15 minute slots in order to practice social distancing.
Claire Wood said the Swan Inn was able to raise more than £80 for the charity and some extra to help cover money lost due to lockdown.
Mr Berry said: “We didn’t make a lot but it’s just incredible that people stopped and came to donate. The main thing is we were able to put smiles on everybody’s faces in what is such a difficult time.
“It’s a lovely gesture, and I was more than happy to give support to Claire and to the Royal British Legion.”