County remembers falled heroes

By Annie DavidsonA SERMON with a difference took place on the beach at Normandy as the 60th anniversary of D-Day was commemorated across Essex.The Rev Martin Flowerdew addressed his congregation at St Peter's and St Paul's in St Osyth yesterday from Gold Beach at Arromanches-les-Bains in France.

By Annie Davidson

A SERMON with a difference took place on the beach at Normandy as the 60th anniversary of D-Day was commemorated across Essex.

The Rev Martin Flowerdew addressed his congregation at St Peter's and St Paul's in St Osyth yesterday from Gold Beach at Arromanches-les-Bains in France.

The sermon was broadcast live on BBC Radio Essex and heard by parishioners attending the church service in Mr Flowerdew's village.


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Mr Flowerdew spoke first about what the veterans who took part in the invasion 60 years ago had endured.

He then told of both their individuality as soldiers and their roles within the forces that fought in the war, relating this to Christians and their roles individually and within the church.

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Mr Flowerdew finally spoke about the turning point that D-Day was for veterans and for the war as a whole - and urged people to use the 60th anniversary as a turning point in their lives and to commit themselves to doing God's will and working for “justice, peace and greater unity and fellowship”.

He said the broadcast had gone well, although he had been a few feet away from the beach because it had been closed by French police for security reasons.

“I am pleased it has all gone well and to hear that the church was full,” added Mr Flowerdew.

Meanwhile, veterans paraded yesterday from the War Memorial Club in Frinton to the nearby Methodist Church for a service of remembrance.

Seven standards were carried in the parade, including those of the Royal British Legion, Royal Naval Association and Burma Star.

Frinton mayor, Mark Cossens, said the church had been full for the occasion.

“It was a privilege to be there. I saw at least two Burma Stars and it was an honour to mark the occasion with the old soldiers who did not make it over to Normandy,” he added.

The veterans marched back to the memorial club after the service, where a raffle was held to raise funds for the Soldiers, Sailors and Air Force Association (SSAFA).

Two minutes' silence was also observed in Colchester yesterday as a poppy wreath was laid at the town's war memorial to honour the D-Day dead.

Ted White, president of Colchester Royal British Legion, said members had been joined at the remembrance by six Paras from Colchester Garrison, who had come to pay their respects.

“It was very nice. We used a service sheet from the 50th anniversary of D-Day and had the bidding prayer, the Lord's Prayer and then our branch chairman, Colin Sissons laid our wreath. Then we had two minutes' silence and I read the exhortation,” he added.

In Witham, the newly-refurbished memorial gardens were used for a wreath-laying ceremony before a service at the town's United Reformed Church yesterdayafternoon.

Former Witham mayor, Dr Bob Evans, said the event had been organised by the Witham Royal British Legion with support from local churches.

During the service, he presented a cheque for £1,050 to the group as it had been one of his charities during his term as mayor last year. A reception was held afterwards at the RAF Club in Hatfield Road.

A service was also held yesterday at Chelmsford Cathedral to commemorate the 60th anniversary of D-Day.

The service was taken by Dean Peter Judd and among the representatives attending were members of Chelmsford Royal British Legion.

annie.davidson@eadt.co.uk

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