PM awards Coventry D-Day veteran ahead of 75th anniversary

The Prime Minister has recognised Dennis Davison BEM from Coventry, for his exceptional service establishing ‘Normandy Day UK’ in 2010 to provide education and engagement for veterans and schools.

© Alison Baskerville.

The Prime Minister has today recognised Dennis Davison BEM, aged 96, from Coventry, for his exceptional service establishing ‘Normandy Day UK’ in 2010 to provide education and engagement for veterans and schools in Coventry.

Dennis, aged 96, was previously the UK representative for the former organisation ‘Normandy Day International’, which mobilised schools and civic representatives from all nations involved in the D-Day landings to hold simultaneous peace picnics on the anniversary of D-Day. He decided to set up an equivalent UK organisation in his home city of Coventry to bring generations together in the cause of peace through educational trips, talks and resources, which has seen veterans speaking to over 3,500 students in the city. In collaboration with Coventry City Council, Dennis has also overseen the creation of a Peace Orchard in 2017, planted to commemorate those who fell during the Normandy Day Landings as well as providing a permanent space for schools and community groups to gather for workshops, events and an annual picnic marking D-Day.

Dennis is the latest recipient of the Points of Light award, which recognises outstanding volunteers who are making a change in their community and inspiring others. Each day, someone, somewhere in the country is selected to receive the award to celebrate their remarkable achievements. Dennis’s award coincides with events marking the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings. Alongside other veterans, he will be honoured by the Lord Mayor of Coventry as part of a civic reception on the 6th June, the same day as the annual Peace Picnic.

In a personal letter to Dennis, Prime Minister Theresa May 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.”

Dennis said:  “It is a great honour to receive the Point of Light Award from the Prime Minister. I accept it with real pride and on behalf of Normandy Day UK and the volunteers who have been so supportive and helped realise the dream of a Peace Orchard in Coventry.”

Dennis is the 1194th winner of the Points of Light award, which has been developed in partnership with the hugely successful Points of Light programme in the USA. Over 6,000 Points of Light have been awarded in the USA, and former Presidents have publicly supported the partnership with Points of Light UK. There is a similar cross-party approach to the UK programme and MPs from different parties often present their constituents with their Points of Light awards.

Regardless of whether it’s a doctor restoring local monuments in their free time, a parent teaching young people life skills, or a local musician giving a voice to lonely people, the Points of Light award honours shining examples of volunteering across the UK.