Rod Stewart took part in an incredible performance on Sunday night, surprising war heroes on board The Royal British Legion Ship. The rock and roll legend marked the 75th anniversary of D-Day by serenading the 300 veterans with his classic hit Sailing. Watch the video below.
Speaking exclusively to HELLO! at the momentous occasion which was organised by the magazine, Rod said: "Today was so important to me. If it wasn't for these guys we could well and truly be under the jackboot as everybody knows."
Sir Rod was accompanied by proud wife Penny Lancaster who photographed the event for HELLO! "You can see the spirits of their young selves in them," she said.
Ahead of the performance, Rod, 74, had a special message for the veterans. He said: "I have to tell you I'm truly delighted to be coming down to Dover today to send our wonderful, brave soldiers off to the beaches of Normandy. Our heroes! It's going to be a great day." Rod's wife Penny added: "I too have the great pleasure of being a part of this remarkable event in capturing these true heroes for HELLO! magazine as I did five years ago for the seventieth anniversary. Good luck!"
Rod Stewart with Leonard Williams 93, who served in Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders
Rod and his wife Penny were also reunited with veteran Harold Bradley, whom they invited to tea at their home – a bolthole for Sir Winston Churchill during the war – in 2014. Harold, who is 96, and the other vets will have the heroic treatment they deserve on board The Royal British Legion Ship for the next seven days.
D-Day veteran Bert Chandler with members of the Charlalas close harmony group
Sir Rod's performance was the perfect welcome for the war heroes, who have been bussed in from all over the country to take part in the 75th anniversary commemorations. HELLO! worked closely with the Royal British Legion and Lady Stewart to make the memorable occasion possible. Next week, other highlights for the veterans will include seeing the Queen and US President Donald Trump. They will also take part in a ceremony on 6 June in Bayeux to mark 75 years to the day they participated in the biggest seaborne invasion in history, liberating Western Europe from Nazi rule.
D-Day veterans gathered under the 'Embracing Peace' statue during the event
Thomas Whitaker, editor of HELLO!, said: "HELLO! is delighted to play a small part in this magnificent historic occasion. These veterans are the heroes of our time and the world could easily have been a completely different place without them. We salute all that they have done."
Penny Lancaster's full album will feature in HELLO! magazine, out 10 June - don't miss it!