Everton in the Community saluted its oldest participant – 103-year-old World War Two veteran Tom Beevers – on VE Day with a surprise celebration of his achievements and personal note from Club chairman Bill Kenwright.
Everton Veterans’ Hub participant Tom – who served with the 7th Armoured Division of the British Army – was paid a surprise visit at his Maghull home by Everton in the Community Project Manager Dave Curtis, a fellow veteran, who came armed with a Blue Family care package on behalf of Everton Football Club and its charity.
The care package included a selection of Tom’s favourite meals, including his beloved Mr Kipling cakes!
Tom also received a personal note of thanks from Chairman Bill Kenwright, who sent his love and greatest respect on the anniversary of Victory in Europe Day (May 8, 1945).
The Everton Chairman expressed in his note what an honour it will be to be able to meet after the coronavirus crisis in order to convey in person how much Tom’s service to his country means to every Evertonian.
And, as the United Kingdom fell silent at 11am to reflect on the enormous sacrifice, courage and determination shown by people from all walks of life during the Second World War, Tom stood side-by-side with his daughter Lynn and Everton Veterans’ Hub Programme Manager Dave to pay their respects and remember their comrades.
Tom, whose regiment is better known as the renowned Desert Rats which saw distinguished active service in North Africa during World War Two, has been a participant in the charity’s Everton Veterans’ Hub programme since 2018.
As well as being supported by the Club’s official charity, he has also received additional support and assistance from the Club by way of general home maintenance, adapting his house to his changing circumstances.
Everton Veterans’ Hub Project Manager Dave Curtis said: “It has been a privilege to surprise Tom at home on the 75th anniversary of VE Day and to join him in the two-minute silence.
"He is a much-loved and well-respected member of our group at Everton in the Community and we are all indebted to him and his fellow servicemen and women who fought to defend our country in our hour of greatest need.
“Tom is a very humble and unassuming man - but it has been an honour to represent the Chairman, Everton Football Club and the charity today as we recognise and celebrate his achievements and dedication to our country.”
Lynn Davidson, Tom’s daughter, added: “I’m so proud of my dad; you couldn’t find anyone prouder than me right now. He’s a hero along with all the other people who fought in for our country, without them we wouldn’t have the life we have today.
“It means the world to him and us for him to have the support of Everton and Everton in the Community - he’s absolutely made up with his card from Mr Bill Kenwright and his hamper of treats and can’t wait to meet the Chairman in the future.”
Launched in 2016 as Knowsley Veterans’ Hub and renamed to Everton Veterans’ Hub in October 2019, the programme supports ex-service personnel who are at risk of isolation by engaging them through sport, training and social activities.
The programme offers a range of engagement tools, support mechanisms and evidence-based behavioural change methods to improve the lives of veterans and their families.
As well as directly supporting veterans, the programme also benefits the local community with the participants improving their skills, finding employment, avoiding potential anti-social behaviour and reducing their likelihood of ill health.
The charity also supports elderly ex-service personnel who are at risk of social isolation through its ‘Aged Veterans’ programme and engages them in a wide range of interactive activities such as reminiscence sessions, history sessions and days out to places of historical interest.
Through Everton Veterans’ Hub, the charity has supported 650 veterans with the transition back to civilian life and supported 15 veterans with mental health issues - whilst moving 15 more away from homelessness.
You can support the programmes that help people like Tom by donating at https://www.evertonfc.com/bluefamily.