12:00pm Thursday 4th November 2010
By Tom Jennings
A Second World War veteran has recorded a collection of poems to raise money for the Poppy Appeal.
Tom Hedges, 93, was asked by his neighbours in Ramsden to produce the CD after they heard him speak in church.
Mr Hedges, who has lived in the village near Witney for more than 60 years, said it had come as “a bit of a shock” but he was happy to oblige.
The CD will be launched on Remembrance Sunday and will be sold in aid of The Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.
Some of the funds will also go to St James Church in the village.
Mr Hedges, who has been described as “the man with the golden voice”, said: “I thought it was a good idea because it was for charity.”
His three daughters and grandchildren encouraged him to make the disc, which took him five nights to record at home.
His hand-picked readings include poems and passages from the Bible.
He hopes the CD will help children to understand the sacrifices made during war.
He said: “I didn’t realise, when I was young, what the First World War was all about, you don’t.
“But hopefully, this will raise awareness. It is also good for kids to listen to poetry.”
During the Second World War, Mr Hedges served in a tank regiment, pushing through France, Belgium and Holland before arriving in Germany.
He was asked to stay on in Germany after the war had finished, to help German refugees.
If the CD is successful, Mr Hedges said he would be willingly to do another.
Linda Flecknell, county manager for Oxfordshire Royal British Legion, said: “We are delighted that Mr Hedges has taken the time to do this.
“It is truly inspirational and it will help to support his local community.”
The Rev Paul Mansell, vicar of St James Church, said: “Tom has a wonderful reading voice that is lovely to hear.
“This project so fittingly embodies so much of what Remembrance Day is all about.
“It’s about honouring those that have given so much, and we’re able to do that with this.”
The CD, entitled Lest We Forget, is priced £10 and can be bought by calling 01993 868210.
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