WWII veteran, Marie Scott (96), became the first female veteran to light the Flame of Liberation at midnight on 4 May in the Netherlands
Marie Scott, who transmitted messages to and from the beaches on D-Day in WWII, was given the honour of lighting the Liberation Flame in Wageningen at midnight on 4 May in front of thousands in the town and millions watching live on Dutch national TV.
In the Netherlands, 4 May is the Dutch day of remembrance, followed by a public holiday on the 5 May to celebrate the country’s liberation from German occupation. Wageningen is the site of the German capitulation and the town attracts thousands of visitors for the midnight remembrance event on the 4 May and the Liberation Parade which is held the following day.
The Taxi Charity has been bringing WWII veterans to participate in the parade since 2012 and each year the parade organisers choose a veteran to light the Liberation Flame at midnight. This year the honour was given to Marie Scott, the first female veteran to light the flame. The following day, Marie was invited to sit with dignitaries, including Joanna Roper, His Majesty's Ambassador to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, to watch the Liberation Parade, which is led by the Taxi Charity driving veterans through the packed streets.
Marie Scott said: "It was an absolute honour to be the first woman to be asked to light the Liberation Flame and I could not believe that they had bestowed this incredible privilege on me. I did not lay down my life on the battlefields like the men did but we all played our own part in fighting for freedom. My life has totally changed over the last six years since I became involved with the Taxi Charity and I am loving every minute of being involved with this wonderful group."
After the parade, to the delight of the Taxi Charity, Ambassador Joanna Roper and British Defence Attaché Piers Strudwick took time out of their schedules to spend some time with the veterans and volunteers at their hotel.
Brian Heffernan, London taxi driver and chairman of the Taxi Charity, said: "We have had a superb trip to the Netherlands for Dutch Liberation. During our visit, we were inundated with requests for media interviews with Marie and other veterans; the people turned out in their thousands on 5 May to see the veterans in the Liberation Parade; and we had a marvellous impromptu visit from the British Ambassador and the British Defence Attaché which made the whole occasion even more special."