A 76-YEAR-OLD man who served with the Royal Signals in the 1950s has been presented with an HM Armed Forces Veterans Badge.

Mr Gerald Turton, of Diamond St, Leigh received his veterans' badge from Leigh MP Andy Burnham at a ceremony at the constituency office in Market Street.

Mr Turton, who was a driver in the Royal Signals, served from 1955-58 and was mainly stationed in Germany.

A grandfather and a father of two daughters and a son he was at one time landlord of The Wheatsheaf at Butts Bridge. A keen golfer he and his wife, Mary, will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in April.

The HM Armed Forces Veterans’ Lapel Badge was launched in May 2004 by the then Labour Government, to raise the profile of veterans by assisting the wider public to recognise them. The first veterans badge was issued to Lord Healey, a veteran of the Battle for Monte Cassino which initiated the roll out of the badge to the generation who served in the Second World War. Since then eligibility to apply for the badge has been extended and now all veterans can apply.

The badge is intended to unite all veterans in recognising the commonality of their service, to encourage a sense of unity and community between surviving veterans and to ignite public recognition of veterans and their continuing contribution to society.

After the ceremony Mr Burnham said: “It is a real honour to present this badge to Mr Turton in recognition of his service to the country. I am constantly amazed at the number of local men and women who have served in the forces as well as the diversity of the units they have served in.

“We must never forget the debt of gratitude we owe our veterans and those who continue to serve in Afghanistan and elsewhere.”

In addition to the Veterans Badge, special badges are given to those who served in the Merchant Navy, the Women’s Land Army and as Bevin Boys.

Andy Burnham MP wishes to encourage veterans of HM Armed Forces, Land Army Girls and Bevin Boys to apply for their respective badge by contacting his constituency office on 01942 682353.