Veteran’s amazing link-up

Pictured centre at Wigan war memorial, former soldier Malcolm Vickers, secretary of the Friendly Loyals, flanked by left Joe Unsworth, committee member of Hindley branch of the Friendly Loyals group, and, right, standard bearer and secretary of the St Helens branch of the Burma Star Association with a photo of Malcolm's uncle, Neville Sidlow, who served and died in Burma

Pictured centre at Wigan war memorial, former soldier Malcolm Vickers, secretary of the Friendly Loyals, flanked by left Joe Unsworth, committee member of Hindley branch of the Friendly Loyals group, and, right, standard bearer and secretary of the St Helens branch of the Burma Star Association with a photo of Malcolm's uncle, Neville Sidlow, who served and died in Burma

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WHEN two members of a Wigan veterans’ group met for the first time they had no idea of the relationship that linked them.

Malcolm Vickers is the secretary of The Friendly Loyals, based in Hindley, and when Lawrence Powers joined the group last year the pair immediately became friends.

But it wasn’t until recently that they discovered that their bond went much deeper than they initially thought.

Just a few weeks ago Mr Powers took a wreath to a group meetings to ask if any members would like to lay it at one of the local war memorials.

Mr Vickers said: “I asked Lawrence if I could lay the wreath at the Westhoughton Memorial in remembrance of my uncle Neville and all the other young lads who did not return to their hometowns.

“Mr Powers then asked me the last name of my uncle Neville and when I said Sidlow he took a step back and did not speak for a few moments. We could not believe the coincidence.”

For the full story see this week’s Wigan Observer ... on sale now