Battling widow heads to Tory Conference
The widow of a World War II war hero is continuing his fight to save their Harmondsworth home from a third runway by joining a protest at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham on Wednesday, 5th October.
Armelle Thomas has been seen at many protests in the past year holding a photograph of Tommy, who died last August only 8 weeks after the publication of the Airports Commission report that recommended Heathrow expansion. On the morning of the publication, 1st July 2015, her husband had received a letter from the airport's CEO John Holland Kaye reminding residents that their homes would go.
Armelle has no doubt that the distress that letter caused her 93-year-old husband led to his rapid decline in health as he couldn't bear to leave the home he had shared with Armelle for 46 years. He was also worried that, if Harmondsworth were destroyed, his wife would have to start a new life without him, her friends or the community in which she is actively involved.
Knowing how Tommy felt about their beloved home has fired Armelle's determination to save Harmondsworth from Heathrow expansion and she knows her husband is with her all the way - hence the appearance of Tommy's wartime photo at every protest. As Armelle explains, "Tommy fought for our freedom and died fighting to save his home".
Tommy spent most of the Second World War in Bomber Command and 161 Special Duties Squadron at RAF Tempsford, where secret night-time flights were sent into occupied France to help the Resistance. Tommy's missions were essential to the success of the war effort because he was key to the mail pick-up that gathered and sent messages to fighters. It was service that earned him a Legion d'Honneur from the French government.
Having risked his life in dangerous missions and given up his French nationality to fight with the RAF, it is shocking the British government has spent so many years considering forcing him from his home.
So his wife is heading to the Conservative Party Conference with other residents who are living under threat to discover if the current government is as compassionate as it would have us believe.
UPDATE: Armelle with representatives from Harmondsworth, Colnbrook and Maidenhead.