Lottery Fund for veterans

SIR - Following the overwhelming popularity of our Heroes Return 2 funding programme, I am delighted to announce the Big Lottery Fund has extended the scheme’s travel date deadline to December 2012 in order to support Second World War veterans in Northern Ireland who have not yet been able to undertake a commemorative visit.

The application deadline for a Heroes Return 2 grant remains 31 January 2012 but veterans will now have until December 2012 to make their trips. The Lottery grants are available for travel and accommodation costs for veterans or their widows, along with spouses and a carer, and I urge any veterans yet to be awarded a grant from the scheme to get in touch before applications close before applications close.

This extension will be a big help to those in Northern Ireland who have felt so far unable to make their personal journeys back to the battlefronts of WWII. It is clear how valuable these journeys are in helping veterans to retrace the steps of their past and honour comrades lost almost 70 years ago.

To date over 50,000 individual journeys and a total of over £23.8 million in awards have been made through Heroes Return 2 and its fore-runner grants scheme. Veterans and their families have travelled to former battle-fronts such as Italy, France, Greece, the Netherlands, Germany, the USA and the Far East as well as to attend commemorative events within the UK.

Details about the scheme and how to apply are available by calling the Heroes Return 2 advice line on 0845 00 00 121 or by visiting www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/heroesreturn.

Yours faithfully,

Frank Hewitt, Big Lottery Fund NI Chair.