A PETITION has been set up calling for all Second World War veterans to be awarded the freedom of their town ‘before it’s too late’.

Former Royal Artillery bombardier James Spence, who set up the petition, has said ‘it’s a race against time to give these veterans the recognition they deserve’.

The online petition comes ahead of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings on Friday.

The Earby Town councillor, pictured, who works at Rolls Royce in Barnoldswick, is aiming to attract at least 10,000 signatures to force a response from the Government and is also hoping to end up with 100,000 signatures to get a debate in Westminster.

Coun Spence, who served in the Army from 1990 to 1997, was involved in securing the freedom of Earby to 33 Second World War veterans in 2012.

The 48-year-old, who lives in Ruston Avenue, said: “These veterans have not been given the recognition that they deserve.

“Time is running out to give them the recognition before they are no longer around.

“In 2009, the last British veteran of the First World War died and it won’t be too many years until everyone who fought in the Second World War is gone as well.

“It’s very important that the Government backs this because very soon there will be little that we can do.

“We all have a connection with the veterans of the Second World War, whether it is our grandparents or the elderly that walk down the street.

“It’s a race against time to get something organised and it won’t cost a lot to do either.

“I think that it will mean a lot to so many people across the country.

“Since we honoured the veterans in Earby in 2012, we have lost eight of them, which is a lot in only two years.

“The time is now to get something done.”

To sign the petition visit: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/65301