A MEMORIAL garden featuring a South Oxfordshire veteran will be officially opened in Normandy tomorrow, to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

Two statues of Bill Pendell – who died late last year, aged 97 – are given pride of place facing each other in the poignant garden, which was also exhibited at Chelsea Flower Show.

Tributes poured in when 'kind, modest and wise man of the village', Mr Pendell, from Stanford in the Vale, passed away in December.

But now his image will live on as a permanent symbol of remembrance.

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The 'D-Day 75 Garden', designed by John Everiss, is set to be officially opened at its new permanent site at Arromanches in a ceremony involving 50 Normandy veterans.

With the help of the Royal Engineers, the garden has been moved from Britain and rebuilt in seven days. It now overlooks Mulberry Harbour and Gold Beach, which Mr Pendell stormed aged 22 with thousands of other men in 1944.

Speaking from France, Mr Pendell’s daughter Fay Pendell said: “It was important to him and he liked the idea that he was just an ordinary soldier – an ordinary man who left his village to fight a war and came home.

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“It’s like the unknown solider in the First World War, except he is the known soldier.”

She added: “He didn’t think himself special in any way. He was almost embarrassed, but he was pleased that he would be representing lots of ordinary soldiers.

“He was given the military medal for bravery, so he was perhaps (special) but he never thought of himself as more.”

Another Second World War veteran and friend Joe Cattini added: “It is emotional that the garden is coming back to Arromanches, where Bill and I landed on D-Day 75 years ago.

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"It is very fitting that this commemorative tribute should become a lasting legacy, sited above Gold Beach.”

The garden – which was inspected at Chelsea Flower Show by Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge – was funded by government contributions, businesses and the British public.

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It is being presented as a gift from veterans to the communities they fought to liberate in 1944, during what remains the largest seaborne invasion in world history.

Nearly 160,000 landed in Normandy on D-Day, marking a significant turning point in the war but with the loss of countless men.

The Mayor of Arromanches-les-Bains, Patrick Jardin, said the garden 'epitomised the story and will inspire younger generations in years to come'.

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Lynda Atkins, from the Royal British Legion, said: “I just think its amazing that someone with his bravery is recognised in that way and it has been fantastic to see the statues.”

Also an Oxfordshire County Councillor for Wallingford, Mrs Atkins continued: “I think we need to remember, particularly at the moment, what happened on D-Day because that generation won’t be with us for too much longer and we need to do all we can to honour them and their memory while they are still here.”

With most surviving veterans now approaching 100 years of age, tomorrow’s ceremony may represent a final opportunity for many to pay their respects.

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Victoria Phipps, secretary of the charity D-Day Revisited, said: "We are so grateful to everyone that has been involved in making this lasting national tribute to our Normandy veterans a reality.

“Bill Pendell was such a character – his daughter, Fay, once told me that he said he would live forever.

"And because of this memorial garden, Bill and his fellow comrades will not be forgotten but will indeed live on in our nation's memory."