England

Norfolk war hero's 71-year wait for Isle of Wight trip

Les Townsend with his credit note outside hotel
Image caption Mr Townsend served during the D-Day landings in World War II (Picture courtesy of Isle of Wight County Press)

A holidaymaker whose trip was cancelled when World War II broke out has finally enjoyed a getaway, after hotel bosses honoured a 71-year-old credit note.

Les Townsend, 89, was to stay at a holiday park in Bembridge on the Isle of Wight in 1939 but it had to close.

Mr Townsend, of Ludham, Norfolk, was given a credit note for his 10 shillings deposit, but forgot about it until it was found during a clear-out.

The D-Day veteran said he was surprised by the trip but had a "very good" time.

He was joined by his son and daughter-in-law for the weekend break at the Bembridge Coast Hotel, operated by Warner Leisure.

The hotel was previously known as Yellands' Chalet Hotel but in September 1939, at the start of World War II, it closed and was used by the armed forces.

"I was just going through the box of papers and I found the receipt of the holiday I had booked," he said.

"I showed it to one of my sons and his wife and she said they might be interested in the receipt.

"I was due to go in September 1939 and war was declared and so I couldn't go, as far as I remembered they sent a letter saying the government cancelled holidays and took over the hotel."

Manager Phil Howden said: "We were delighted to hear of the story and gave him a free holiday with no extra charges by accepting the credit note.

"They had a fantastic time and we made a bit of a fuss over him, he was a bit of a celebrity.

"He had never been to the Isle of Wight before."

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