THE annual celebration of the life of World War Two heroine Violette Szabo brought several hundred people flocking to Wormelow on Sunday.

The event, held on what would have been Violette’s 95th birthday, remembered the SOE operative who was executed in Ravensbruck Concentration Camp just weeks before the end of the war when she was just 23.

Violette, who spent many childhood holidays at Cartref in Tump Lane, where the event was held at the museum which bears her name, shared top billing on the day with three wartime contemporaries.

A trio of members from the St Weonards Branch of the Royal British Legion were presented with one of the highest honours of the French Republic, the Legion d’Honneur, by Josette Lebrat, the French Honorary Consul for Bristol and South West England.

Peter Davies, the branch president, landed on Sword beach on D-Day and went on to meet up with members of the French Resistance who had been trained by Violette Szabo. Peter Harness, who had joined the Merchant Navy at the age of 16 in 1943, also took part in DDay when he made 14 trips across the English Channel.

The third member of the trio, 97-year-old Jim Jenkins, was prevented from attending by ill health. The former Light Infantryman, who had also taken part in the D-Day landings, was represented by his wife Doris. Major Peter Greenhow spoke of the 300th anniversary of the foundation of the Royal Artillery, in which Violette had served.

Virginia McKenna, who played Violette in the biopic Carve Her Name With Pride, read the Leo Marks code poem ‘The Life that I have’ with Violette’s daughter Tanya.

And Councillor Marcelle Lloyd-Hayes, representing Hereford’s mayor Jim Kenyon, paid special tribute to the person who had made the day possible, Rosemary Rigby the owner and founder of the Violette Szabo GC Museum.