Union Jack bunting, balloons and flags were flying in full colours as residents of a Darlington care home commemorated the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

Behind the poppy-painted windows of Ventress Hall, residents spent the day paying their respects to more than 150,000 military servicemen who bravely fought for freedom on the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944.

The day of commemoration began with a talk from Eddie Laidlaw, 59, who served in the Green Howards regiment for 12 years. He recalled the history of the events surrounding D-Day, and raised wartime stories from residents.

Residents at Ventress Hall care home enjoyed singer Claire Louise entertaining them as they commemorated the 80th anniversary of D-Day (Image: STUART BOULTON)

His daughter, Bethany Laidlaw, is a care worker at Ventress Hall. She said her father is “passionate” about keeping the memories of lost servicemen alive, without whom “we wouldn’t be where we are today”.

With the thoughts of residents on the services of those lost throughout the war and since, Bethany said: "It’s humbling to work with them.” And she added that it is her aim to maintain a “meaningful lifestyle” for residents under her care.

Ventress Hall caters for residents with a wide variety of care needs. Their oldest resident is 102-year-old Vera, whose husband fought at Dunkirk in 1940. She still enjoys playing The Blaydon Races on the piano.

Following the talk, residents were whisked back to the 1940s, by singer, Claire Louise. In period dress with victory rolls firmly pinned in place, Claire got flags waving and hands clapping, with tunes ranging from the swing songs of the Andrew Sisters to ‘Roll Out the Barrell’ and an emotional rendition of Vera Lynn’s moving classic, ‘The White Cliffs of Dover.’

Singer Claire Louise entertains residents and visitors at Ventress Hall care home in Darlington (Image: STUART BOULTON)

Family visitors were dropping into the Darlington care home throughout the afternoon, including one man who came to share the commemorations with his mother, Margery, 90. During Claire’s performance, they clapped along together, with Margery's son saying: “She responds really well to music, she really feels it.”

Claire, who has been singing throughout the week to commemorate D-Day explained why she feels it is important to keep singing these songs 80 years on.

“My bit is commemorating the musicians who built everyone’s morale up and kept everyone going throughout the war,” she said.

But for Claire, who often sings in care homes, music remains important in keeping spirits up.

The bunting was out at Ventress Hall care home in Darlington as residents enjoyed 1940s music and a talk about the history and legacy of D-Day (Image: STUART BOULTON)

“People with dementia and Alzheimer’s sometimes only connect with the world through music,” she said.

“That’s why it’s so important to get music, and especially live music, into the room, so that you get that interaction and tell the story of the songs.”

These are stories that Mike Walls, 82, who served in the Parachute Regiment, feels are important to preserve and tell.

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He says that on the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings which claimed the lives of thousands of young men, some only teenagers, it is vital to remember them, to provide “dignity for those who were slaughtered”.

“My motto is ‘nothing is without effort’”, Mike noted in recollection of the devastating sacrifices of those who secured our freedom.

“It’s been a very emotional day. But a very important one to remember.”