Holloway granddad raises £7,000 for Gaza children in father’s memory
09:59 15 August 2014
Mike Power never knew his father who died before he was born in the Second World War
On July 8, 1944 – after writing to his wife, son and unborn child – Bill Power was killed in Normandy.
Seventy years later to the day, while a son who never met his father read from that letter at a memorial service, a conflict was breaking out in Gaza that would claim 2,000 lives in a month.
It’s this Second World War letter that inspired Mike Power, 69, to raise £7,000 – a thousand for each decade since his father’s death – to help children whose lives are being shattered by the conflict in Palestine.
“I was born three months after my dad died,” said Mike, who lives with his wife, Nina, in Clock View Crescent, Holloway.
“I never knew him and that has always affected me, but I certainly didn’t suffer the terrible nightmare that the children of Gaza are going through.
“I’m pleased to have helped them in my small way.”
The grandfather-of-five battled through a chest infection to finish the London Triathlon on August 2, raising £6,600 in the process.
He completed his half-mile swim, 25-mile bike ride and six-mile run in four hours and 22 minutes and wants to reach £7,000 in his father’s memory.
Extract from letter sent on the day of Bill’s death
“. . . it won’t be long before we are together again, if Jerry was a decent sport he would know he was beaten and pack in now. I’m still feeling fine and getting along alright, don’t worry about me this job isn’t so difficult after all, I’ve had much tougher times on schemes.
“Well darling I must close now, look after yourself and keep happy, all my love to my own two darlings.
Yours and Maxies’ . . . Bill
Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx kisses for Maxie from Daddy”
Mike had already planned to take part in the triathlon, but thought it would be fitting to raise money for War Child, a charity that helps children living with the consequences of war.
“My brother, our family and I have always lived with a constant awareness of war’s devastating effects, that’s why our hearts go out to the children of Gaza,” he said.
Among the letters that were read was one written the morning that Bill, a battery commander in the Royal Artillery’s 68 Anti Tank Regiment, was killed in the Normandy landings.
In it he wrote that he was “fine and getting along alright”, and said: “Don’t worry about me this job isn’t so difficult after all. I’ve had much tougher times on schemes.”
After their father’s death Mike and his brother, Max, were brought up by their grandmother while mother, Ethel, went out to provide for them.
Ethel was a war widow for 62 years before being granted her dying wish – burial beside Bill at the Hermanville War Cemetery, in Normandy, France. Letters were read by Mike, Max, Mike’s son Simon, and two of Mike’s granddaughters – Jane, 20 and Emily 22.
“On the day of the triathlon I had a chest infection,” he said. “This caused me some real breathing difficulties, and slowed me down, but I was glad to finish and live up to my promise to my sponsors and War Child.”
n To donate visit justgiving.com/Mike-Power3.