PENSIONER Lily Taylor will take an emotional trip to see the unveiling of a very special memorial.
The 90-year-old, who was awarded an MBE for her work with the Sunderland branch of the Bomber Command Association (BCA), hopes to travel to London for the unveiling of the Bomber Commander Memorial in June.
The £3million memorial commemorates the 55,573 men of Bomber Command who lost their lives during the Second World War.
Lily’s husband John Arthur Corrigan, of Seaham, carried out 36 bombing operations as a mid-upper gunner in a Lancaster Bomber during the war. He died in 1951.
Lily said: “It looks absolutely beautiful. I went and had a look at how it was coming along when I went to collect my award from the Queen in November.
“It means a lot that this memorial has been built because a lot of men died during the war. Some of them were only 18 and they never came back.
“They were all so brave and those who did come back after just one operation were no longer little boys, they were men.”
Since 1997, Lily has been a member of Sunderland BCA and in 2000 was promoted to chairman – a post she still holds.
She served in the RAF for five years during the Second World War, starting as a balloon operator stationed in Jarrow before moving to a base East Kirby in Lincolnshire.
As well as devoting her time to the BCA, including taking ex-service personnel on trips to Germany and France, Lily asked for cash instead of presents when she turned 90 last week.
At a special birthday bash at the Masonic Hall, £650 was raised through birthday donations, which she will send to Bomber Command headquarters in London.
Lily, whose great-grandson Daniel, 21, is due to fly to Afghanistan with the 3 Rifles this year, said: “It was a lovely party. There were about 150 people there. I had a great time.”
In June, Lily, of Fulwell, was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for her services with the BCA and Age Concern, where she has worked with stroke victims for the last 15 years.
“I was in total shock when I found out I’d been awarded it,” she said.