Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Tributes Paid to Dunkirk Veteran; 97-YEAR-OLD HONOURED HIS FALLEN COMRADES AT EVENT

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Tributes Paid to Dunkirk Veteran; 97-YEAR-OLD HONOURED HIS FALLEN COMRADES AT EVENT

Article excerpt

Byline: KATHRYN RIDDELL Reporter kathryn.riddell@reachplc.com @KathrynRiddel

A VETERAN of Dunkirk has died after fulfilling his final wish to honour his fallen comrades on Remembrance Day.

Sydney Hetherington was 96 when he achieved his dream to go to the Royal British Legion's annual Festival of Remembrance in November 2017.

The festival commemorates all those who have lost their lives in conflicts and is held at London's Royal Albert Hall on November 11 each year.

Sydney and his family had unsuccessfully applied for tickets for the event in the past and he was overjoyed to go last year.

Daughter Carol Heads, who went with her dad, said: "He thought it was absolutely wonderful.

"People recognised his Dunkirk medals and were congratulating him."

Only a small number of tickets are allocated to members of the Royal British Legion in the North East but Sydney had managed to get seats again for the 2018 event.

Sadly, he was not able to return to the Albert Hall.

The grandfather of one was visiting Carol and son-in-law George, who live in Cyprus, when he became ill and died of a heart attack in hospital.

Carol, 71, said: "He was enjoying a lovely holiday.

"All of a sudden he had a pain, we got him to the hospital and he had a massive heart attack.

"But at least we were with him." His funeral was held on December 6 in the West Road Crematorium in Newcastle on what would have been his 98th birthday.

Born in Blyth in 1920, Sydney left home aged 14 and went to look for work in London, before ending up at a shoe factory in Wellingborough.

Then, at 18, shortly before World War Two broke out, he enlisted in the Coldstream Guards.

During the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940, Sydney was part of a rear guard which rowed out to a ship, using shovels taken from an abandoned ambulance as oars. …

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