A 96-YEAR-OLD veteran helped residents in Thornhill to commemorate the anniversary of the First World War.

Nevell Thomas Johnson, who lives in the village, served in the Second World War as an air gunner on Catalina flying boats.

He was invited by three Thornhill councillors to raise a new 'Lest We Forget' flag for the first time.

Sam Meteer, a Copeland councillor for the Beckermet ward and a member of Beckermet with Thornhill Parish Council, had the idea to provide a flagpole for the village.

He said: "I wanted to try and get something in place to commemorate the 100 years since the end of the First World War. After sourcing a suitable pole, a gentleman from Thornhill, who wishes to remain anonymous, spent some considerable time effort and skill in engineering the pulley and rotational system for the top of the pole."

With help from two Thornhill-based parish councillors, Steve Caddy and Derek Humphreys, a site, at Thornhill Play Park, was identified for the flag.

The councillors organised a brief ceremony at 11am on October 24.

Mr Johnson, who was in the forces between 1940 and 1946, was wounded in the back by shrapnel from a cannon shell after his plane was attacked by five Italian enemy fighter planes

"It was known there was a young 90 something veteran who lived in the village and he was subsequently approached to see if he would be willing to raise our flag," said Mr Meteer. "He said he would do it."

John Edwards, the standard bearer for the Egremont branch of the Royal British Legion, acted as bugler for the ceremony.

The councillors thanked Mr Johnson, Mr Edwards and those who attended the ceremony. They also thanked Jewson's, of Egremont, for providing a bag of stone chippings, free of charge, for the area at the base of the pole.