101-year-old Sunderland war hero Len Gibson encourages schoolchildren to do small things for each other every day

Sunderland war hero Len Gibson, 101, has visited the school he worked as headteacher at to speak to pupils.

Thursday, 10th June 2021, 3:14 pm

Earlier this year World War II veteran Len Gibson who is one of the last survivors of the infamous Burma Death Railway signed up for work with charity Daft as a Brush, which provides free transport to hospitals for patients.

On Thursday Len visited Hastings Primary School in West Herrington, Sunderland, where on his return from the horrors of the Japanese prisoner of war camp he became head teacher and worked there for 40 years.

The great-grandfather said: "It's always been a privilege to be able to talk to young people who are so keen to learn.

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Hasting Hill Academy assembly hosted by 101 year old veteran Len Gibson with Daft as a Brush founder Brian Burnie.

"I hope they'll help me spread the word so we can provide more transport needed for cancer patients all over the country.

"It's something good that can come out of the terrible experiences during the war - understanding that we all need to help each other.

"When I'm asked what I still want to achieve there is one thing, peace all over the world. But doing small things that do good for each other every day is a step on the way."

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Hasting Hill Academy assembly hosted by 101 year old veteran Len Gibson with Daft as a Brush founder Brian Burnie.

Alongside teaching, Len has always had a passion for music.

As a prisoner of war he was forced to work on the infamous Mergui Road building the Death Railway in Burma, and when interred he built his own musical instrument and entertained fellow prisoners around a fire each night.

When he returned to Sunderland he inspired thousands of young people, including his neighbour, Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics.

Now former Bombardier Len is helping with a drive to roll out the Cumbria based organisation, which provides free transport to and from hospitals, across the UK.The charity aims to be operating in Aberdeen, Londonderry, Cardiff and London by 2022 and Len has been appealing for volunteers and fundraisers in thoseareas to step forward.

Hasting Hill Academy assembly hosted by 101 year old veteran Len Gibson with Daft as a Brush founder Brian Burnie.

Brian Burnie, founder and Trustee of Daft as a Brush, said: "He is an amazing man who has set out to ensure that no one forgets how important it is to have peace across the world.

"The school has invited him to meet groups of pupils and we’ll be showing off the brand new Daft as a Brush ambulance - named ‘Len Guitar Gibson’ in his honour – which they helped to design."

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