THE funeral of a D-Day hero will be held next week and help is needed to give him the send-off he deserves.

Much-loved veteran Frank Hughes died earlier this month at the age of 92, having enjoyed an active and independent life up until a final illness.

His funeral will be held on Monday, May 21 at the Salvation Army Citadel in Darlington, the town where he spent much of his later life.

Mr Hughes was a familiar sight around Darlington and his death inspired an outpouring of tributes that have comforted his loved ones.

He will be much-missed by family and friends including members of the Darlington Branch of the British Legion, which is now appealing for military standard bearers to form a guard of honour at Monday’s service.

Ken Coates, chair of the Darlington branch, said: “I would like to contact all military standard bearers within the area who would like to pay their respects to Frankie at his funeral.

“Frank was a very popular person within the town and we would like to give him the send off he truly deserves.

“He was well liked and well known throughout the town, he was a man who never complained and who would do whatever he could and he will be missed.”

Royal Navy veteran Mr Hughes was a signaller on board the frigate HMS Waveney during the D-Day landings in 1944 and, with his crew, was responsible for landing hundreds of Canadian troops onto the beaches.

In 2015, he was awarded France’s highest military honour – the Legion d’Honneur medal – in recognition of his role in the Normandy landings.

His family say they have been touched by the support they have received from those who remember Mr Hughes, who was born in Skegness but lived around the North-East for many years.

A statement from them said: “He was very well known around Darlington and was a real character.

“The support we have received from the community has been unbelievable.”

The service in memory of Mr Hughes will take place at the citadel on Thompson Street East from noon and will be followed by a cremation in Darlington Crematorium.

Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to the Royal British Legion.

Military standard bearers who can assist at the service should email Mr Coates on 01325 263717.