Sutton milkman takes war veteran customer to D-Day anniversary event in Normandy
A milkman who befriended a war veteran on his round, took the former soldier on a trip to the D-Day commemorations.
Chris Carter has been leaving pints on 88-year-old Reg Blake’s doorstep in Longford Gardens, Sutton, for 34 years.
The two struck up a friendship after Mr Carter noticed a war veteran’s jacket in his customer’s house.
Mr Blake was in a charge of a landing craft on D-Day, and is a former president of the Croydon branch of the Royal Marines Association.
Just over 18 months ago Mr Carter floated the idea of taking the veteran to Normandy, after Mr Blake said he would love to attend the D-Day commemorations.
The two men attended the ceremony on June 6, which marked the 70th anniversary of the largest seaborn invasion in history.
Mr Blake’s three sons accompanied them on the trip, one of which flew in from America for the service.
I'll drink to that: The friends swopped milk bottles for wine bottles when they crossed the channel
As well as organising the visit Mr Carter also acquired security passes for the Royal Enclosure, where they met the foreign secretary William Hague and his wife.
Mr Blake, who was once a milkman himself, said: "I am very grateful to Chris for helping to make the trip to Normandy possible. It was important for me to be there to remember my fellow comrades."
Mr Carter, who has been delivering in central Sutton for 34 years, said: "One of the best things about being a milkman is getting to know customers like Reg.
"It was an incredible honour to be able to accompany him and his family out to the commemorations.
"Reg and his comrades did so much for us as a nation and this was a small thing I could do to say thank you. It was an extremely poignant and remarkable event to be part of."
Mr Carter’s father was an evacuee during the war, who worked at a Sussex butchers that was run by the family of one of Reg’s comrades.