Communities gather for Remembrance services to remember the fallen
- Credit: Tom Potter
‘At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them’.
Words from the Ode of Remembrance punctuated a poignant and impeccably observed service to the fallen at Woodbridge’s war memorial, where wreaths were carried and laid by representatives of more than 50 local groups.
Woodbridge rector, Reverend Canon Kevan McCormack opened the service for wreaths to be laid by local organisations and dignitaries, including Deputy Lieutenant of Suffolk, Sir Edward Greenwell.
Cliff Baldock, deputy parade marshall for the Woodbridge branch of the Royal British Legion (RBL), said: “Every year, the number of people turning out to observe Remembrance gets larger.
“We have schools like The Abbey taking on projects specifically focussing on Woodbridge in the war.
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“Younger people are vital in carrying that remembrance forward.”
Mr Baldock’s brother, Kevin, Woodbridge RBL vice chairman and parade marshall, said: “When we joined the Legion, we heard stories that Remembrance was in decline, but we now know it’s more poignant than ever, especially in light of recent conflicts and the centenary of the First World War.
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“We have spoken to groups throughout the town – from the rugby club, to the rowing club and the Shufflers running club – all of which have lost members in wars.”
Woodbridge RBL president, Barrie Fisk BEM, whose grandfather was in the Suffolk Regiment and fought at Ypres in the First World War, said: “Over the past six years, attendance for the services in Woodbridge has gone from about one thousand to almost four thousand.”
Mr Fisk’s brother, Brian, laid a wreath for the Burma Star Association – for all who served in the Burma Campaign of the Second World War, including their own father.
The former Royal Army Ordnance Corps (now the Royal Logistic Corps) soldier’s son was also in attendance, having himself served in Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan.
Elsewhere, in Levington, almost 40 people gathered at the war memorial in St. Peter’s churchyard on Armistice Day to observe a short period of Remembrance, reflection and a two-minute silence.
Parish councillor Pat Pryke said: “Remarkably, no traffic came by to disturb the quietness and the view over to the River Orwell in lovely autumn sunshine was stunning.”
Bishops Martin Seeley and Mike Harrison were at Remembrance events in Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds, joining thousands of people in the county honouring the fallen’s courage.
The Rt Revd Martin Seeley, Bishop of the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, said: “Remembrance is a powerful and moving time for so many of us.
“We recall with deep gratitude those men and women who have given their lives for the protection of our country.
“We are so grateful that the traditions of Remembrance continue, as strong as ever, giving us time to pause and pray, to be reminded of the preciousness of so much we may take for granted, and of the terrible cost of war.”
Bishop Martin joined hundreds of people on Sunday at the Cenotaph in Christchurch Park, and during the afternoon preached for the Deaf Church meeting at St Nicholas, Ipswich.
The Rt Revd Dr Mike Harrison, Bishop of Dunwich, said: “On Remembrance Sunday we honour those whose courage, sacrifice and bravery have helped secure for us the peace and security we enjoy, to give thanks for them and pause to recall what was won at such great cost.
“But we also recall the horror, the inhumanity and the tragedy of war at this time too, not to wallow in it, but because so doing gives us all the greater resolve to seek, wherever possible to avoid armed conflict and pursue peace and reconciliation.
“More than this, remembering is about putting us back together differently, as agents of peace in the name and memory of the fallen.”
Bishop Mike attended St Mary’s in Bury St Edmunds and also the wreath laying in the town during the weekend.