Summer 2019 round-up: D-Day 75th anniversary Peace Picnic, Bands in the Park, an award and BBC interview

It was a busy summer for everyone involved with Normandy Day UK and the Peace Orchard. Find out more in this round-up of our main events and other news.

Peace Picnic 6th June 2019

To mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day, and celebrate the work of local schools, a Peace Picnic was held at the Coventry Peace Orchard in Coundon Hall Park on the afternoon of 6th June 2019.

The event was attended by around 400 children from four Coventry schools, local people, and the families of D-Day veterans, who enjoyed live music, played football, made bird and bat boxes and puppets, planted a symbolic lilac tree, and had fun in the sun.
Coventry’s Lord Mayor, Cllr Linda Bigham, spoke about the importance of the Normandy Campaign as the turning point of the 2nd World War, and praised the partnership between the Normandy Day charity, Cardinal Newman secondary school and the City Council.

The event celebrated the completion of some new Peace Orchard features – direction signs, a new footpath, benches and giant apple sculptures made from scratch by Cardinal Newman School, plaques containing famous peace quotes alongside quotes by local schools children, information panels, and a web site.

Sadly, Normandy Day charity founder and D-Day veteran, Dennis Davison, was in hospital and was unable to attend.
The Peace Picnic followed a morning church service at Holy Trinity church, Broadgate, and a civic reception at the Council House for the families of D-Day veterans.

Watch a short film of the event below (produced by jam-AV)


Armed Forces Day concert by Chase Jazzmen 29th June 2019

To mark Armed Forces Day 2019, on Saturday 29th June, the Chase Jazzmen played an engaging 2 ½ hour set at Coundon Hall Park. The event was jointly organised by the City Council as part of Coventry’s Bands in the Park programme, and by Normandy Day UK to raise awareness of the new Coventry Peace Orchard.

On one of the hottest days of the year, the band played a medley of period tunes to a group of around 30 loyal Bands in the Park fans, transporting listeners back to the 1940s as a reminder of post-war optimism and the contribution of our Armed Forces in securing lasting peace in Europe.

The event was held in Coundon Hall Park near the newly established Peace Orchard to raise awareness of this peaceful oasis, with its 20 species of native apple and plum trees, wildlife habitats, home-made benches, plaques, information boards, apple sculptures and web site.

The Peace Orchard has been developed with staff and hundreds of children from the nearby Cardinal Newman Secondary School. In the Autumn, staff and children, with charity and Council officials, will plant more native wildflowers and bulbs and plan the next stage of the Peace Orchard’s development.


Dennis Davison receives award from the Prime Minister

Normandy Day UK founder Dennis received the Points of Light award, which recognises “outstanding individual volunteers – people who are making a change in their community.”

In a personal letter to him, the prime minister said: “As we mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings, it is fitting to recognise your extraordinary work educating others on this important day in history and keeping the memory of those who served our country alive.

“Through Normandy Day UK you are helping us understand how we can all work together to tackle intolerance and discrimination, and promote peace and reconciliation in our communities.”

Read more in this BBC article


Dennis appears on BBC’s Gardeners World

BBC Two featured an interview with Dennis Davison, discussing the Peace Orchard and his experience of the Normandy campaign. Watch the clip below: