HUNDREDS of villagers in Hale witnessed the unveiling of a newly restored war memorial in remembrance of forgotten heroes on D-Day.

The whole community came together to parade through the village and re-dedicate a cenotaph after months of fund-raising efforts and hard work by volunteers.

Jim Ross, a member of the newly-formed Hale Village branch of the British Legion, said: "It was a great turn out and a very emotional day. Hundreds came to the church for the blessing of the stone and even more took part in the parade. People said it was like the wartime spirit coming back into the village," he said.

Villagers raised almost £11,000 to restore the memorial stone, which was donated by Asda, and after missing out on lottery funding, Halton Council stepped in to donate £400.

Visitors from as far a field as Australia came to pay tribute to the soldiers named in the roll of honour.

Under the guidance of the Hale war memorial restoration committee, the names of 11 soldiers, six from the First World War and five from the Second World War, were added.

The day also marked the official launch of the Hale branch of the British Legion.

"Everything came together well at the end and it was a magnificent occasion," Jim said. "I would just like to thank everyone who showed their support."

Meanwhile, jubilant church bells rang out as proud veterans marched along Mersey Road in Runcorn on Sunday morning.

Teenage air and army cadets, scouts and brownies paraded into Runcorn's All Saints Parish Church for an emotional service to commemorate the 60th anniversary of D-Day.

Ex-servicemen who actually took part in the Normandy invasion recalled their vivid wartime memories as poignant images of landing craft were projected beside the altar.

Joe Darlington, president of Runcorn and Weston Royal British Legion, who organised the event, laid a wreath in memory of fallen comrades.

Standards were lowered as the Last Post echoed through the ancient stone church and the packed congregation bowed their heads. Spontaneous applause greeted the men, laden with medals, as they marched out into the summer sunshine. Mr Darlington addressed the parade afterwards, saying: "This is a day you can be proud of for the rest of your lives."

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