"As we contemplate this Europe of peace, we must never forget the heroes like you."
In February 2016, local Henbury resident and LinkAge participant Ted Thomas was awarded the Chevalier de la Legion de L'honneur. This prestigious military award was given to Ted, as a thank you for his involvement in the liberation of France, during the Second World War. They wanted to thank him for the courage and bravery he showed as well as being prepared to give up his life.
Ted was born in 1923 and in 1941, whilst serving in the Royal Navy (which was attached to the Merchant Fleet) he met his wife Edna at a party. To this day, Ted can still remember saying to Edna, "when I get back... if I make it and if I can get permission... let's get married".
Ted did make it and he was true to his word, marrying Edna in 1944. Over the years to follow, Ted watched his family grow, with 3 children, 8 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren to date.
In 2014, Edna sadly passed away. Finding it hard to adjust to life without his wife of 70 years, Ted found moments at times difficult. Soon after Edna's passing, Ted received a letter to say that he was being awarded the Chevalier de la Legion de L'honneur.
Knowing that Edna would have wanted him to go out and meet friends, in July of last year, Ted decided to started to come along to the LinkAge Henbury and Brentry Hub. At first, Ted wasn't too sure about how involved he wanted to be in the Hub, but was reassured that he could slowly try new things and there was no pressure to attend any activities.
Gradually throughout the year, Ted started to come to more and more activities, attending the coffee morning and fish 'n' chips group, soup club and even cooking classes!
Nearly a year on from when Ted first got back involved in the community, he's said, "coming to LinkAge was beneficial for me. It has made a difference - it's given me a chance to meet people again and be part of a community. I really love the cooking - it gives me a chance to learn another skill."
When LinkAge's Henbury Worker, Suewan Kemp and Becky Harrington found out that Ted would be receiving an award, they couldn’t have been more pleased.
And they soon found out that they would also be invited to see him receive the award.
On the day Ted said, "I am really over the moon to get this award and just wish that my late wife Edna was here to see me receiving it."
Not only has Ted been awarded the Chevalier de la Legion de L'honneur, but he has also been invited to Buckingham Palace to meet the Queen this Summer!