Winterton cadets rescue D-Day celebrations after passport drama
A NORFOLK cadet band stepped in to rescue D-Day commemorations in France after all their usual military bands dropped out.
But there was a last minute drama when Winterton-on-Sea Marine Cadet Band realised seven young people did not have passports - meaning they could not travel to the historic event with veterans in Arromanches, Normandy.
Crisis was averted after a quick call to the Peterborough Passport Office, the documents were rapidly processed and the cadets are ready for Wednesday's service.
The band's senior officer, Major Martin Scott was asked if they would take part in commemoration events in Arromanches, Normandy, at just two weeks' notice.
Maj Scott agreed and asked band master Sam Gregory to get in touch with the Peterborough Passport Office.
She explained the urgency of the situation to them and was delighted with the efficient service received.
'The young people were thrilled to be asked to the event, and the staff wanted to do all we could to get them there,' she said. 'The passport office in Peterborough were brilliant, and got me appointments on behalf of the young people and their parents so we could fast track their applications.
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'We now have all seven passports and are so grateful to the staff there who helped.'
The marching band – which is made up of percussion, brass and woodwind instruments – is due to perform three times on June 6.
They will first play for a civilian ceremony organised by the Mayor of Arromanches, Patrick Jardin, where 30 veterans will be guests of honour.
Then they will entertain the crowds with music and a drill before finally taking part in the evening ceremony, organised by British veterans.
They will perform music including the National Anthem, Land of Hope and Glory, and songs from TV show Dad's Army.
Alison Longman, the Identity and Passport Service area operations manager for East and Midlands, said: 'I am delighted that the Peterborough team has been able to help the cadet band on this occasion.
'Although we are very busy as it is the peak summer demand period, we do try to deliver the best possible service to our customers.
'I hope that the band enjoys representing the UK at the D-Day celebrations in France.'
The organising committee in Normandy had contacted Winterton cadets after the planned military bands had to pull out due to commitments with the Jubilee and French presidential inauguration.
The cadets are due to head out to a summer camp there in August, so committee members had their contact details.
Adrian Cox, a councillor in Normandy and part of the organising committee, said: 'We are absolutely bowled over by the enthusiasm and efforts made by both the cadet troop and by the passport office in helping give the veterans the parade and respect that they and their fallen comrades deserve.'
D-Day marks the first day of the Second World War Normandy Landings by the Allies on 6 June 1944, marking the beginning of the liberation of Western Europe from German occupation.