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Prime Minister hosts St Paul’s D-Day banquet as the Cathedral offers tea and cake to veterans

Prime Minister David Cameron will be the host of the final banquet of BBC Television’s popular Great British Menu, broadcast from St Paul’s on Friday 6 June - exactly 70 years after the D-Day landings.

And to mark the occasion, all veterans of World War Two are invited to St Paul’s Cathedral’s crypt cafe in the first week of June to enjoy free tea and cake as the nation remembers the day in 1944 when thousands of troops stormed the beaches of northern France.

Seventy years on, D-Day remains one of the most important moments in modern history, and a defining point in a conflict during which St Paul’s Cathedral served as a beacon of hope. Churchill’s instruction that St Paul’s must be saved at all costs, helped boost morale as much of London burned around Wren’s great church, the dome rising above the smoke of Blitz destruction.

St Paul’s was therefore thrilled to be asked to host the final banquet of the Great British Menu, with some of the UK’s best chefs creating Wartime-inspired food for guests including D-Day veterans Ken Sturdy and George Batts; Churchill's granddaughter Celia Sandys; one of Churchill's War Cabinet secretaries, Joy Hunter; and Bletchley Park cypher clerk, Baroness Trumpington.

The Reverend Canon Michael Hampel, who will be seen dining at the banquet, said: "This significant anniversary of D-Day makes us consider what it meant that men gave their lives on the beaches of Normandy and how their sacrifice shaped the freedom we enjoy today. But, as we remember, so we also champion the men and women who returned from war and who still contribute so much to their local communities today. St Paul’s is privileged to welcome them here and to host this banquet in honour of service given seven decades ago; service which continues to be appreciated by all the people of this nation.”

The Great British Menu final banquet will be broadcast on BBC2, Friday 6 June at 7pm.

Free tea and cake
From Monday 2 to Saturday 8 June, the team behind the Cathedral’s crypt cafe and restaurant, Harbour & Jones, will evoke memories of Wartime spirit with special offerings throughout the week.

All WW2 veterans, who fought or worked on foreign fields or on the home front, are invited to enjoy a mug of tea and traditional British cake in the crypt cafe.

And for the whole of June the restaurant will also be looking to the past, creating a gastronomic twist on classic Wartime fare. Diners will be invited to ‘dig for victory’ in their own St Paul’s vegetable garden; try bread and beef dripping; and ‘head to the shores’ with cockle popcorn, malt vinegar and seaweed salt. £1 from every set menu will be donated to The Royal British Legion. 

The restaurant menu is available for the whole month of June; free tea and cake for just the first week.