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At last, recognition for 'selfless' land army girls

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The Women's Land Army take a break from tending Maidstone farmland
The Women's Land Army take a break from tending Maidstone farmland

FORMER land girls from Kent are being urged to contact the Government to receive the first ever official award commemorating their “selfless efforts”.

After years of campaigning, the 2,000 surviving members of the Women’s Land Army (WLA) and Women’s Timber Corps (WTC) are to be presented with lapel badges in recognition of their service during the two world wars.

The Government announced its decision to reward the nation’s brave land girls and “lumber Jills” last Sunday, and wish to hear from all surviving woman to ensure everyone receives the long-awaited honour.

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said: "It is absolutely right that we at last recognise the selfless efforts these women made to support the nation."

Land girls worked all over the UK during the world wars to keep the country running while the men were fighting abroad.

As many as 80,000 members of the WLA tackled difficult agricultural jobs, often in the line of fire, to tend crops and harvest food for the nation, while around 6,000 “lumber Jills” felled trees and worked in sawmills to produce timber.

Former land girl Mildred Dowden, 87, worked on a farm in Kent where conditions were particularly hard.

She said: "We should have been recognised earlier. I worked on a farm in Kent where there were guns and shrapnel flying around."

The first group of veterans will receive their badges at a ceremony to be held next year. Former Land Girls applying for the badge will have to prove eligibility.

Application forms are now available on the Defra website at www.defra.gov.uk or by calling 08459 33 55 77.

Were you one of Kent’s land girls or lumber Jills? If so, please contact kentonlinenews@thekmgroup.co.uk with your story and your details

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