Marie Scott was just 17 years old when first relayed coded messages to the troops during World War II.

As a VHF radio operator, the New Malden woman could hear the mayhem on the beaches when the Allied forces sent messages back.

“When they lifted the receiver, I heard the sounds of war: gunfire, people shouting and very loud bangs,” she said.

“Suddenly I had the realisation that we were in a war.”

More than 70 years later, Marie 94, found herself standing on the Normandy beaches where the invasion took place.

"It was an incredible experience for me because I had no idea that there are still people in Europe who are deeply grateful to the Allied soldiers," she added.

"That was a bit of a revelation. I saw an old man going up to one of the veterans, shaking him by the hand and saying thank you. I still find that moving."

She travelled there in a London cab as part of the National Lottery funded Taxi Charity for Military Veterans and she is hoping to shine a light on how that funding helps veterans.

“The atmosphere created by the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans is so terrific," she said.

"They really can’t do enough for the veterans; they’re so helpful.

“Charities and organisations that support veterans are doing a remarkable job. Many veterans lead lonely and isolated lives. It is heart-warming to see them getting the recognition and support they deserve.

"We should never forget the sacrifices people made to give us the freedom we enjoy today. Many paid the ultimate price, so it’s not a lot to ask to look after the ones that made it back."

Marie has travelled to Normandy twice since her first visit. When she returned to the beaches earlier this year for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasions, she was awarded the Legion d’honneur, France’s highest decoration.

Marie says the trips with the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans give her something to look forward to.

“I get a thrill,” she said.

“It means a week of camaraderie and quite often high emotions. But above all it’s a spirit of togetherness. It’s hard to put it into words. But I always look forward to them immensely.

“I want to wish the National Lottery a Happy 25th Birthday. I’m so grateful that it continues to support and remember veterans in the way that it does by helping to fund projects like the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans.”