YOUNG boy has received complimentary tickets to the annual Armed Forces Day in Basildon in memory of his dad.

Connor George, 13, was only one when his dad, Darren George, who fought in the 1st Battalion of Royal Anglicans, died in Afghanistan, aged 22, in 2002.

He has since received support from charity, Scotty’s Little Soldiers, which helps youngsters who have lost a parent in the Armed Forces.

Since his dad’s death, Connor has received birthday presents and cards from the charity every year.

Connor’s mum, Sarah Hopkins, 32, says the charity is doing great work.

She said: “Connor was a baby when his dad died. The hardest thing for him is that now he’s growing up, he doesn’t have memories of his dad.

“But the charity has been fantastic with him and they do a lot for children in the same position all over the country.”

Dan Rodgers, organiser of the South Essex Armed Forces Day, which is being held at Barleylands Farm this weekend, heard of the young boy’s story through the charity.

He decided to offer free VIP tickets to Connor and his family.

Mr Rodgers, who is also the chairman of the Essex Military Support Association, said: “I heard about Connor through Scotty’s Little Soldiers. They told me that there was a local boy who lost his dad in Afghanistan.

“We got in touch with him and he was quite keen to come to the event.”

Connor and his mum are hoping to raise awareness for the charity during the event and will be collecting money on its behalf.

Mrs Hopkins said: “It’s just such an amazing charity, so we’ll be going around with buckets collecting money. It is nice to raise awareness.”

See WWII icons at fab family day out

SOUTH Essex’s version of Armed Forces Day features a host of eye-catching displays.

It runs at Barleylands, in Barleylands Road, Billericaytomorrow and Sunday.

The event will feature flying displays by classic aircraft, demonstrations on the ground, live music and a host of other family entertainment.

Flying displays will feature Second WorldWar aircraft, including a Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster bomber, plus more recent Gnat trainers.

The Army will demonstrate how it carries out medical evacuations under fire, while
Essex Fire and Rescue Service will also be doing displays.

Admission is by ticket only, and they are available by calling 08444 771000, or visiting Day tickets cost £10 for adults and £3.50 for under- 16s, while under-fives get in free.

Events on both days start at 10am.