Sunderland war hero Len Gibson to be honoured on VJ Day with flypast and memorial walk organised by North East cancer charity Daft as a Brush

A hugely-respected Wearside war hero who sadly died last year will be honoured alongside other veterans with a VJ Day memorial walk and vintage aircraft flypast organised by a North East cancer charity.

Wednesday, 3rd August 2022, 12:54 pm
Updated Wednesday, 3rd August 2022, 12:54 pm

The walk, organised by cancer charity Daft as a Brush, will start in Sunderland and go 24.5 miles through South Tyneside, Gateshead and end in Newcastle, honouring Sunderland war hero Len Gibson BEM, who passed away at the age of 101 last year, as well as other far east prisoners of war.

The walk, which is open to the general public, will begin at Sunderland cenotaph at 7am with a remembrance service and military piper.

At 11am the walk will stop at South Shields Town Hall for a two-minute silence, a short service and a fly past from three vintage aircraft.

Len Gibson BEM, who passed away last year aged 101

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    At 3.45pm the walk will stop in Gateshead for another vintage fly over and wreath laying, before finishing in Newcastle at 5.15pm where Daft as a Brush ambulances will mark a close to the 77th anniversary of victory in Japan.

    Brian Burnie, Founder of Daft as a Brush, said: “VE day is always the big one and people often forget what was still happening in the Far East at that time.

    "Len Gibson was one of those people who continued to have that horrible existence during that time until thankfully the Japanese surrendered.

    “Len was the greatest person I ever met and after the war all he wanted to do was give back to others. This walk celebrates him and others like him by bringing the North East together as one.”

    Len Gibson BEM, who passed away last year aged 101

    As a Far East Prisoner of War (FEPOW) Len was forced to work on the Mergui Road building the 'Death Railway' in Burma after he was captured following the fall of Singapore in 1942.

    In 2019 he was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) in recognition of his community and voluntary Service and last year, aged 101, Len sadly passed away.

    Daft as a Brush cancer charity collects and transports those suffering from cancer to hospital appointments, helping thousands across the North East.

    The Daft as a Brush VJ Day walk will begin at Sunderland Cenotaph at 7am on Sunday, August 14.

    Daft as a Brush founder Brian Burnie with Len Gibson at a celebration for his 101st birthday in Herrington Country Park.