Monday 21 May 2018

Carol Vorderman leads march urging knighthood for Dambuster to No 10

Carol Vorderman and John Nichol deliver the petition
Carol Vorderman and John Nichol deliver the petition
George 'Johnny'Johnson, 95, is the last surviving British Dambuster

TV presenter Carol Vorderman has marched to Westminster to hand deliver a petition containing 235,000 signatures calling for a knighthood for Britain's last Dambuster.

The petition calling for an honour for 95-year-old George "Johnny" Johnson, who has been nominated but not selected, was handed to Number 10 Downing Street by Ms Vorderman and RAF veteran John Nichol.

Mr Johnson was part of Royal Air Force 617 Squadron, which conducted a night of raids on German dams in 1943, in an effort to disable Hitler's industrial heartland.

Ms Vorderman, who began the march with Mr Nichol at the Bomber Command Memorial in Green Park, has been an ambassador for the RAF Air Cadets for the past two years.

She first met Mr Johnson last summer at an event in his home city of Bristol.

The former Countdown host said: "Johnny is the most incredible man, he will dedicate the honour to all war veterans if he receives it."

Ms Vorderman, who has called the lack of recognition for Mr Johnson a "disgrace" said: "When you start to get to know the veterans and their history you start to understand how important it is to honour their efforts."

Mr Johnson has been praised for his ongoing charity work in the years after he left the Bomber Command.

He is still an active member of his community and has raised huge amounts of money for charity.

Former RAF pilot and prisoner of war Mr Nichol said: "I accept that many people are deserving of an award, whether they're celebrities or great sportsmen.

"But if they're deserving of an award, then our great Briton Johnny Johnson deserves an award more."

Mr Johnson was first nominated for an OBE in November 2015 by Paul Walmsley, 69, whose father was also in the military.

However Mr Walmsley's nomination was unsuccessful, despite being told that the application was "under serious consideration".

He said: "It is a national outrage and a scandal, I just want Johnny and his squadron to be remembered."

Press Association

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