After first seeing Harry Billinge MBE LdH on TV a few years back & finally meeting him on his 96th birthday last year (via zoom) & becoming good friends with his daughter Margot I was very saddened to get the call that he had passed away.
I blogged about the story of how I created a piece of artwork in tribute of the war hero & how it took me awhile to finally get it to him in September 2021
After meeting with Harry on his birthday I stayed in contact with Margot who is a someone I now call a friend. If you love Harry then you love Margot as they are cut from the same cloth & speak their truths no matter what.
Just after I had spoken with Harry & the family on his birthday, Margot was kind enough to send me a T-shirt with Harry on the front & his regiment on the back which I thought was a lovely gesture.
After the call from a family friend of Harry’s to let me know he had passed away I started to create another picture in honour of Harry. Editing is what I turn to when I get a sensory overload & it helps me focus & level my feelings & emotions.
I messaged Margot the day after to show my condolences & also sent her the image I had created. Margot expressed that she loved the picture & wanted two copies – one for her & one for her sister.
As we spoke over the next couple of weeks before Harry’s funeral, Margot was kind enough to invite me to the funeral to pay my respects. Unfortunately I couldn’t make the funeral due to a number of reasons.
Margot had told me that the piece of artwork I had created for Harry (which he opened on his birthday) would be in the church at the service which was a such a great honour to me.
On the day of the funeral I watched the coverage on the BBC morning live show. Later that day, wearing my T-shirt that Margot had sent me, I went to the Nags Head pub in Manchester to get a photo in front of the tribute artwork I had created for Harry to honour him & to send to Margot out of respect.
Margot messaged me later on the day to tell me that he had a great send off. She also told me that she had donated the new piece I had created for the family to The Normandy Memorial Trust which obviously played a huge part in Harry’s life & I thought this was very fitting. Margot told me how nice Julie from the trust had been, & that it would be great for me to speak to her & gave me her contact details.
I have since spoken with Julie who is indeed a really nice lady. We spoke about Harry & what a character he was & how he will be sorely missed. We also spoke of how I could maybe help with the charity through art donations to help raise funds for the Charity that Harry had dedicated his life to. The artwork I created which Margot donated to the trust will go to Normandy to the Memorial which is another great honour for me.
Some things happen for a reason & maybe this is one of them – to continue to help raise awareness of the trust?
To find out more details on the the Normandy Memorial trust please follow the link below
Rest in peace Harry, forever in our hearts