Veterans bank on superb support

By Ian Dipple Thursday 17 April 2014 Updated: 18/04 08:22

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Buy photos » Veterans and bank staff join Mick Manton, chairman of Redditch PRA, Redditch MP Karen Lumley, Mark Cadwallader, area director South Midlands Lloyds Banking Group commercial banking, and Gordon Mercier to celebrate the fund-raising feat. Picture by Ian Dipple (s).

ALMOST £20,000 has been raised by a group of bank workers to help send war veterans on an emotional trip to Europe to pay tribute to their fallen comrades.

Staff from Lloyds originally set out to raise £10,000 to help the Redditch branch of the Parachute Regimental Association send veterans, their carers and families to Holland in September to mark the 70th anniversary of the battle of Arnhem during the Second World War.

But in just 20 weeks staff have not only hit the total but smashed it. The money was raised through a series of quizzes, raffles, cake sales, dress down days and involved staff and donations from not only across the South Midlands area but as far as Southampton and Devon.

The fund-raising began last December in the Redditch branch on Church Green East when staff, customers and serving soldiers walked the distance from Redditch to the site of the D-Day landings in Normandy - some 255 miles - on a step machine. Staff member Alex Hill also cycled from Redditch to Arnhem in three days to add to the total.

Their efforts raised more than £17,000 which was handed over during an emotional presentation at the Redditch branch last Friday.

Another £2,500 will to be added to the total from sales of a special pin badge marking the 70th anniversary which was designed by Phil Larner, commercial manager at the Redditch branch.

Lloyds decided to raise the money after meeting Barry Tansley, a leading member of the Redditch PRA branch, at a funding fair organised by Redditch MP Karen Lumley.

Mark Cadwallader, area director South Midlands Lloyds Banking Group commercial banking, said: “We’re local people trying to make a difference to our local community and we are proud of that. To set a challenge of raising £10,000 was steep enough in the economic climate we are in at the moment so to raise the best part of £20,000 in 20 weeks is a significant achievement.”

Mr Tansley added: “We are just completely blown away by what they have achieved, it’s unbelievable.”

The additional money raised over the original £10,000 target will be distributed by the Redditch PRA branch on behalf of Lloyds to other local worthy causes.

Mrs Lumley said: “In the four years I have been MP this has given me the most amount of pleasure to be involved in. These gentlemen and their colleagues have given their lives for this country and in this very special year that’s something we need to remember.”

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