Coronavirus Becomes Australia’s Best Friend in France

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London: Australia’s most loyal supporter in France has died after a seven-week battle with the coronavirus.

Patrick Simon, the mayor of Villers-Bretonneux, whose determination to maintain the city’s privileged link with Australia earned him an Australian Order of Honor medal in 2015, died Wednesday after contracting COVID -19 end of March.

The news of his death passed through the small village in the north of France which the ANZAC freed from the Germans during the First World War at the cost of 1300 Australian lives.

The mayor of Villers-Bretonneux, Patrick Simon, receives his honorary AO in 2015 from the Australian Prime Minister at the time, Tony Abbott.

The mayor of Villers-Bretonneux, Patrick Simon, receives his honorary OA in 2015 from the Australian Prime Minister at the time, Tony Abbott.

The town’s school was flattened in two deadly battles to retake Villers-Bretonneux, but rebuilt with donations from the Victorians, and to this day still displays banners and small signs saying “Don’t forget Australia”. The main street is named Melbourne Street and the imposing Australian National Memorial – the main memorial commemorating Australians who died on the Western Front – is located just outside the city.

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