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Monday 21 June 2021
Salford News Header Montage
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Donna Harrison with veteran George Maddran
DMWS Welfare Officer Donna Harrison with veteran George Maddran

A taste of history for veteran George

Army veteran George Maddran had a sweet surprise after a recent stay in Salford Royal – a chocolate blast from the past when he was a little lad in the 1940s.

George, who served 25 years in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) and was then the County Standard Bearer for the Royal British Legion for nearly 20 years, now suffers from a lung condition and had to go into hospital after a flare-up.

During his stay he had a visit from Donna Harrison, Salford Royal’s Welfare Officer for the Defence Medical Welfare Service (DMWS), a charity which supports ex-service personnel and their families.

While reminiscing about his boyhood in Ordsall, George, 77, told Donna how he used to spend his sweet ration on Peter’s Chocolate – then a popular brand and the original milk chocolate!

Although it is still sold in the United States and Canada, it hasn’t been available in Britain for many years. But caring Donna thought it would cheer George up to have a taste of his favourite chocolate again – and turned detective to track down a representative of the company who could help. Luckily, the member of staff she found was ex US Navy and keen to help a fellow veteran, and he sent two bags full of chocolate for George.

The widower, whose years as a Staff Sergeant in the REME saw him stationed in Germany, Malta, Borneo, Singapore and Northern Ireland, was surprised but thrilled by Donna’s thoughtful gesture.

He said: “It was a real shock when Donna turned up with all these bars but it was really good to taste it again after all these years. I don’t know why but it’s always stuck in my mind and I was very touched that she’d gone to so much trouble to get it for me.”

Donna added: “My job with the DMWS is to support former services personnel aged 65 plus and their families – and that support can cover all sorts of things such as helping with hospital appointments or making sure there’s help  at home afterwards. George didn’t need that sort of help but when he told me about the chocolate he used to get from a shop on Taylorson Street, it really struck a chord. I’m pleased I could track it down for him.”