Remembrance Parade, March: an awe inspiring, humbling and cross generational moment
PUBLISHED: 18:30 12 November 2017 | UPDATED: 11:17 13 November 2017
In the end they arrived at the war memorial early but timing remained everything as Major Nigel Spencer brought together an awe inspiring, humbling and gratifying cross generational Remembrance Day parade.
Watching the parade set off after a service at St Peter’s Church it was impossible not to be profoundly moved by the numbers taking part.
The itinerary was such that for the first time the two minute silence would be at 11am at the memorial ad so it was essential those attending the service and taking part in the parade would be assembled there on time.
Such was the attention to detail in a 7,500 word briefing document put out by Major Spencer that every one of the many hundreds taking part in the parade would know where they needed to be, when they needed to be there and the expectations for each one of them.
“The aim is to enable all those taking part to fully understand their duties, the parade format and to ensure the parades are perfectly executed,” he had briefed in advance.
The young people taking part were testimony to the importance placed on Remembrance Day for parents and organisations.
March Detachment of the Army Cadet Force played an active role and one of its members collected the wreath to be handed to the deputy lord lieutenant Freddie Grounds for placing on the memorial. His wreath, of course, was on behalf of HM The Queen.
Another cadet collected the Normandy Veterans Association wreath and a third collected the Grenadier Guards Association wreath
1220 (March) Squadron of the Air Training Corps provided the band for the parade and also nominated cadets to re-position the wreaths at the memorial during the ceremony.
Brass 2000 provided the bugler for the parade and the air training corps provided the band.
As the parade gathered in Broad Street a short period of prayer and reflection was led by Rev Andrew Smith.
As the clock ticked inexorably to 11am, Barry Howlett, president of the March branch of the Royal British Legion, read the exhortation: “They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning.
We will remember them”
After the silence that followed he read aloud the Kohima ‘when you go home tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow, we gave our today.”
Among the many wreaths laid on the memorial were those on behalf of the town council by the mayor Cllr Kim French.
In the absence of MP Steve Barclay, Councillor Kit Owen laid the wreath on behalf of the Government.