We have received this Christmas message from WWII veteran Reg Pye, who joined us in Normandy in June and has recently been in the news after being reunited with a young girl he met during WWII.
My dear friends,
Who would have thought that after all these years of trying to find the little girl that I gave my jam sandwich to on a difficult day where we hadn't eaten, were tired and just arrived at a small village in Normandy for just the night. She left a photo with her name and that's all I had. I carried that photo for 78 years in the hope that one day perhaps we might find her.
We have tried for years to find her but failed. On telling Paul Cook, our taxi driver in June this year, while standing on Sword Beach where I landed, he decided to put an SOS to France to find her.
Friends of ours in France who work as a news reporter put it on Paris TV. Their reporter tried to find her. He found several people with the same name but failed. Nathalie Varnière from the Taxi Charity took up where they left off and through hard work and determination she found my little girl Huguette for which I thank her from the bottom of my heart and will be forever grateful.
My health has been up and down since being taken for three days to hospital in Holland in August. I was advised to stop travelling but my heart and wish was to complete my bucket list and reunite her with her photo after all this time of searching for her.
Josie asked our doctors if I was taken door to door more or less could I be taken. They told her now or never. Paul was busy that weekend so Josie mentioned it to a friend and without hesitation she came from Normandy to get us and took and brought us home.
I will never, ever be able to repay Emma Newton for all that she did for us and the wonderful video she did for Huguette's family and mine. She refused to take anything. She organised everything - the ferry, the hotel - and the amount of driving she did and care she gave Josie and I was above and beyond anything you could ask for. It was incredible, as we live in west Wales as she was aware that Josie couldn't do it or her husband owing to health problems.
I'd like to thank the Taxi Charity for all they have done for me to find her and for making my dream come true. The message is dreams do really come true. It was all my Christmases in one, for which I am forever indepted to you all and forever grateful to you.
Nadolig llawen to you all, dear friends. Good health and stay safe.
Love and best wishes.
Royal Engineers 224 Field Company 8th Corps xxx