Care UK’s 155 homes will be commemorating D-Day this summer as part of D-Day 80. One of the many acts of commemoration this year is the Light Lamp of Peace initiative, which the provider will be leading on for the sector.

The campaign will see different settings come together – from care homes to hospital trusts, and across the health and social care sector – to encourage people across the UK, including families at home, to light their own lamps in memoriam of those who gave their lives on the beaches of Normandy eight decades ago.

D-Day 80, of which this campaign is part of, is being led by Pageantmaster Bruno Peek CVO OBE OPR, who has led Royal and international celebrations for nearly 40 years. D-Day 80 has partnered with The Normandy Memorial Trust, The Royal Naval Association, ABF The Soldiers Charity, RAF Benevolent Fund and the Merchant Navy Association.

At 9:15pm on 6th June 2024, to coincide with the lighting of the ceremonial beacons throughout the United Kingdom, Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and in UK overseas territories, Care UK’s homes will light their lamps in tribute.

Andrew Knight, CEO of Care UK said: “Many residents living in care homes across the country will have lived through this poignant period, making their own sacrifices; whether they had family members serving, or if they themselves served in the Armed Forces or as part of the Home Front.

“At Care UK, we are dedicated to showing our continued support and admiration for those who served, as well as those who still serve today. Those who fought on the shores of the Normandy beaches represented a ‘light of hope’ during a grievous period of war, therefore we encourage all Health and Social Care communities throughout the UK, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man to join with us in the ceremonial lighting of the ‘Lamp Light of Peace’ at 9.15pm on 6th June 2024, in this significant tribute.”

Cavell Court in Norwich was the first home to take the delivery of their Lamp Light of Peace on Monday 29th January, which was delivered personally by Mr Peek.

In addition to being greeted by the team from Cavell Court, he was joined by Jennie Rodgers, Regional Director for Suffolk, and a number of residents.

Cavell Court resident and RAF veteran Ken, aged 98, officially received a Lamp Light of Peace from Pageantmaster Bruno Peek CVO OBE OPR, who is leading the initiative. The lamp itself is a tribute to those who fought on the shores of Normandy and represented a ‘light of hope’ during the war. Mr Peek also shared D-Day 80 medals with Ken and 90-year-old resident John, a Royal Navy veteran, before presenting a commemorative pin from the King’s Coronation to Betty, whose husband was an RAF pilot, for her to “pass down for generations to come.”

Ken said: “I enjoyed receiving the lamp, and it was similar to the ones used during the war. I am proud I served in the RAF, and it is important to remember.”

Karen Curle, Home Manager at Cavell Court, said: “Many residents at the home were in the armed forces, or have lived through World War II – so to them, the D-Day anniversary is an incredibly significant occasion to pay tribute.

“Ken especially was honoured to be the recipient of our Lamp Light of Peace and meet Bruno Peek; it was a truly special day for him. We couldn’t be prouder to be part of an initiative that celebrates residents like him, as well as thousands of others who have served, and continue to do so today.

“We’re now looking forward to join over 100 of Care UK’s homes in the ceremonial lighting of our Lamp Light of Peace later this year – and we’d like to encourage the people of Norwich to get involved too.”

Bruno Peek shared that he was thrilled that Care UK was taking part in D-Day 80: “Many people in residential and nursing homes have a direct connection with war through relatives involved in conflict, including the Normandy invasion. Taking part in a lamp lighting ceremony will enable them to reflect on the dedication and sacrifice made by their forbearers”.

“Organisations the length and breadth of the country who acquire a Lamp Light of Peace to remember D-Day will, of course, be able to use them well into the future, lighting it at 11am on 11th November in ‘Remembrance’ as part of the annual Armistice Day commemorations on 11th November for many years to come.”

Care UK is dedicated to honouring and supporting residents who are veterans by encouraging them to tell their stories and reminisce with our teams.

In 2023 alone, veterans from the Lancaster Bombers, the Women’s Land Army and the Royal Navy were all in the spotlight to share their stories.

Clifford Storr, who lives at Seccombe Court in Banbury, and who is one of the last surviving Lancaster Bombers, celebrated his 100th birthday in 2023 with parties involving the Banbury ATC military band, and the Military Wives Choir from nearby Brize Norton. In the lead up to Remembrance Day, and as part of Care UK’s Wishing Tree initiative, Clifford was accompanied to the International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC) so that he could pay his respects to fallen colleagues.

Liberham Lodge resident Joan Johnson, who joined the Women’s Land Army after her college in Westminster was bombed, was reunited with a Bedford army truck she hadn’t seen since WWII. Joan and her colleagues would drive the 3-ton trucks to undisclosed locations in the south of England so that they could be later transported to Normandy for D-Day.

Geoff Weaving, a resident at Skylark House in Horsham, shared his memories of interpreting and sending morse code messages in the Royal Navy as part of his 100th birthday celebrations in September. This included his role in D-Day, where the ship he was a part of, the HMS Astral, was awarded the Battle of Honour Normandy 1944 for its role in the historic event.