An emotional memorial concert was held at Dunstable’s Wheatsheaf pub to unite war veterans.
On Sunday, November 13, punters attended the High Street North pub for a hearty breakfast before heading to a remembrance service at Priory Church.
Friends, families and veterans then gathered in The Wheatsheaf for a special concert lasting until 9.30pm, with singers performing both wartime songs and popular music, aiming to provide a space where veterans could meet new friends and be welcomed as ‘heroes’.
Ricky Smith, 52, known to many as singer ‘The Sensational Clayton Stevens’, said: “It was very, very successful – the place was absolutely packed!
“It was a journey of laughter, tears and reflection, and we had veterans whom were based in places including Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan.
“We opened and closed the day with ‘My Way’ and I shed a tear – I haven’t cried in about 30 years!”
The entry fee was £2 on the door, although Clayton thanks generous punters for donating much more, as the event raised £404.70, which will be split between three charities: The Royal British Legion, Help for Heroes and Combat Stress.
These are charities close to Clayton’s heart, as he joined the Royal Artillery from 1977-1988, serving in 137 Java Field Battery, Forty Field Regiment Royal Artillery, visiting countries including, Denmark, Germany, Kenya, and Belize.
Clayton said: “At the concert I spoke to one veteran who had gone 20 years without experiencing Post Traumatic Stress, but was suddenly struck overnight.
“He contacted Help for Heroes and now he believes in himself again.”
Many found the event a valuable place to share their service experiences with fellow veterans, while the favourite performance of the day was ‘Pack Up Your Troubles’.
The singers included: Mike Peach, Melissa Norwood, Jay Joseph, Elsadie, Sean Stevens, Kevin Kit, and many more.
Clayton said: “You’ve just got to look around you – heroes aren’t someone mythical on the TV – it’s your neighbour living next door.”