Here's Torfaen County Borough Council leader Cllr Anthony Hunt's latest Argus column:

IT'S hard to comprehend what must have gone through the minds of the young men sent by boat to the beaches of northern France 75 years ago this month.

Their selfless bravery amidst unimaginable horror should remain an inspiration, and the memory of those who gave their lives for our freedom must endure.

That's why commemorations on the anniversary of dates like D-Day are so important.


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The remarkable stories in the Argus and elsewhere over the past week are vital to keep the human stories of D-Day alive, and to help us remember the lessons of such events.

That process becomes ever more vital as the number of D-Day veterans inevitably reduces each year, especially as many veterans don’t often tell their stories because of their remarkable modesty, or to avoid awakening painful memories.

Certainly, my own grandfather rarely talked about his experiences in the RAF when he was alive.

I learned so many things he'd never told me about his time serving when I was writing his eulogy.

He'd have undoubtedly said he was "just doing his job", but I will always regret not eliciting more stories from him when he was alive.

Of course, as well as remembering the past, we must also work to give serving forces personnel, their families and veterans a fair deal from public services.

That's why as a council we've tried to take steps to better serve the armed forces community.

For example, we've changed housing rules to give veterans and their families priority, back-dating applications to the date they joined up.

We've also taken steps to help veterans get interviews for employment.

But there is more to do - we must continue to take our commitments under the Armed Forces Covenant seriously.

Personally, I also want to do more to match my words with actions.

Regular readers will know I'm a keen cyclist, and I've ridden before to raise funds for the ABF - The Soldiers Charity.

But last week's commemorations inspired me to do more, so I've signed up with the Royal British Legion to ride from London to Paris.

I'll be riding to help the Royal British Legion raise funds for the excellent work they do supporting the armed forces community.

I'll also be riding to remember the local heroes who have given their lives, including Private James Prosser, and to pay tribute to those who have served, like my grandad.

My trip to France will be a lot less daunting than those taken 75 years ago, but if it can help make a small difference to the living, it will be worthwhile.