Page last updated at 21:07 GMT, Friday, 13 February 2009

Benefactor helps D-Day veterans

British troops on their way to Normandy to take part in the D-Day landings
The D-day landings of 1944 were a major turning point in World War II

A benefactor has paid for 30 veterans from Bristol to travel to France for D-Day commemorations after the government said it would not fund the trip.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said it funded a trip for the 60th anniversary but had no plans to pay for the 65th.

The MoD said it was policy only to provide funding to commemorate 25th, 50th, 60th and 100th anniversaries of nationally important events.

It is estimated 700 UK veterans are still fit enough to make the journey.

'Lottery grant'

Five years ago world leaders stood shoulder to shoulder with Normandy Veterans in France to commemorate the 60th anniversary.

On that occasion every veteran received a grant of 330 from the Lottery Fund to pay for their trip.

At the time ministers made it clear they would only pay the travel grants on the condition it was for the last time.

The D-Day landings spearheaded the campaign to liberate western Europe from the Nazis.

Much of Europe was still occupied by the Axis powers when the campaign, codenamed Operation Overlord, was given the go-ahead.

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