Veterans make Burma Star cash appeal

PUBLISHED: 09:52 24 April 2009 | UPDATED: 16:02 11 May 2010

Jimmy Kemp and Benny Chapple

Jimmy Kemp and Benny Chapple

A GROUP of war veterans are appealing for help in raising £5,000 to save an event honouring their fallen comrades. For the last four years, Burma Star Day, on August 15, has been marked with a day of Remembrance at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford. Howe

A GROUP of war veterans are appealing for help in raising £5,000 to save an event honouring their fallen comrades.

For the last four years, Burma Star Day, on August 15, has been marked with a day of Remembrance at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford.

However, due to the impact of the global recession, the museum is unable to offer financial support to the veterans this year.

While Duxford will still provide the venue for the event, it will be down to the Burma Star Association to raise the estimated £5,000 needed to cover the costs of the day.

Burma Star Day honours those soldiers who fought against the Japanese in Burma during World War Two.

Benny Chapple, 84, of Rock Road, Royston, is a member of the Burma Star Association, and was stationed in Burma from 1943 - 1946.

He said: "This is the one day in the year when we get all the veterans together to remember those who died in Burma. It also gives us a chance to chat with people about what happened in the Far East.

"Last year we had over 100 ex-soldiers come from all over the country, so it is a really important event which a lot of people attend."

Another veteran, Jimmy Kemp, of Duxford, said: "People sometimes don't realise how long we were out there for. I was in Burma for two and a half years without leave, so it was really tough.

"We're looking for any donations that people can afford, large or small, towards our total - whatever comes, comes. Any help would be gratefully received."

Last year more than 2,000 visitors turned out to watch the veterans march, and enjoy a fly-past by Second World War aircraft.

Richard Ashton, director of the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, said: "The Imperial War Museum has been proud to host Burma Star Day for the past four years and is delighted to be the venue for the Burma Star Association's national gathering.

"The current economic climate means that the museum is, regrettably, unable to extend the same financial support to the association in 2009 as it has done previously.

"Nonetheless, for 2009 Burma Star Association members and holders of the Pacific Star are still gifted free admission to the museum and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight has also generously agreed to a fly-past during the day. The museum team will continue to organise the day on behalf of the association. The Imperial War Museum greatly values its ongoing relationship with veterans and we look forward to welcoming them to Duxford this August."

Anyone wishing to help with the associations appeal should contact Mr Kemp on 01223 832447, Mr Chapple on 01763 241251, or email the Burma Star Association - burmastar@btconnect.com.

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