D-Day veteran who still does aerobics aged 99 is celebrated at his weekly class

A Teesside D-Day veteran was in for a surprise when his pals gave him a standing ovation at his weekly aerobics class.

Great-great-grandad John Hannon, 99, who was just 19 when as part of the Royal Navy he was stationed on a destroyer off the coast of Normandy 80 years ago, thought he was just going to his normal aerobics class - but was left speechless when his friends gave him a standing ovation and a round of applause for his part in the landings.

Commemorations have been taking place across the UK and France this week to mark the 80th anniversary and honour all the heroes who lost their lives.

John, who went on to be a postman after leaving the navy, said: "I was really surprised. One of the lads asked me if I would take in my medals to show him and I thought nothing of it, I just thought he wanted to see them.

"When I got there they had this all set up with everyone clapping. It was really nice of them."

John, who lives in the West Lane area of Middlesbrough, played down his part in the events of June 1944. He said: "We were there to support. We were just patrolling all the time and guarding the side.

"I wasn't at D-Day very long we ended up having a collision at the end of June and had to go into dry dock for repairs."

Every Wednesday morning John, who was married to Winifred before her death at the age of 83, goes to the aerobics session at Trinity Methodist Church in Acklam. It is organised by Sporting Chance Middlesbrough, a charity for the health and wellbeing of local people, and everyone wanted to make the day special for John.

Dad-of-two John, who also has seven grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren like to keep himself fit and well.

Daughter, Christine Hardwick, 62, said: "We are all very proud of him, he's amazing. He was still playing walking football until a couple of years ago. He has never ailed a thing, he doesn't complain of any aches and pains or anything."