I WAS recently invited to attend the 98th birthday celebration of Urmston resident Phil Bates and it was an absolute honour and pleasure to meet Phil and learn all about him.

I thought, this week, I would let you all know a little something about this lovely gentleman who gave so much of his yesterday so that we could all have our tomorrow!

I learned that Phil joined the RAF in the May of 1940 and served until the August of 1946.

He had 14 missions as a flight engineer.

On the 6th of September in 1943 Phil was shot down and had to bale out over Mannheim. He was captured and remained a POW until the 23rd of April 1945.

I can't even begin to imagine what that would have been like.

I know there are many residents who have served during war time but speaking to an individual with first hand experience of it all really brings it home.

Phil went on to become the deputy town clerk for Trafford and was a councillor for 13 years.

After talking to Phil I was then introduced to another gentleman named Roland Hill who was also in the RAF fighting in Liberators in the far east during World War Two. What stories these men could tell.

I loved meeting and talking to both Phil and Roland and I think it is vital that their voices be heard and we don't forget what they went through in order to guarantee that we have our freedom today.

As the old saying goes, it is only when we forget that we allow these things to happen again. So lest we forget!

It was a pleasure attending Phil's birthday party and I enjoyed singing him a couple of songs too.

I wish Phil and Roland all the very best and I hope all the Wayne's World readers will join me in wishing Mr Phil Bates a very happy 98th birthday!

See you all next week and don't forget to watch my weekly video 'A Word From Wayne' at 6pm every Monday on my website www.allabouttrafford.co.uk