Remembering war heroes

PUBLISHED: 12:10 16 November 2006 | UPDATED: 11:14 06 May 2010

Flag bearers at the war memorial, Bowling Green, Stevenage

Flag bearers at the war memorial, Bowling Green, Stevenage

Record crowds pay their respects to fallen soldiers TWO minutes of silence and a sea of red poppies united those across Comet country at the weekend as crowds gathered in an act of remembrance with the Royal British Legion. Members of all generations show

Salute to the fallen at Biggleswade war memorial

Record crowds pay their respects to fallen soldiers

TWO minutes of silence and a sea of red poppies united those across Comet country at the weekend as crowds gathered in an act of remembrance with the Royal British Legion.

Members of all generations showed strong support during the services that remembered those that fought and died in war.

Councillors and dignitaries were among those attending the Stevenage town centre service on Saturday while the Old Town War Memorial was the gathering ground for the Sunday parade.

Borough mayor Simon Speller introduced the town centre service and led the dignitaries to the saluting base on the Bowling Green the next day.

He said: "The remembrance service and parade are a chance for the people of Stevenage to come together to remember the brave soldiers who fought in the two wars, and subsequent wars, to secure the freedom we enjoy today."

Letchworth GC residents gathered at their war memorial to lay wreaths, sing hymns and join in prayer.

The Rev Roger Chapman, of St George's Church, Letchworth GC, said: "I always find the event deeply moving. Obviously we don't glory in war, but we do remember the people who've gone before and given their lives for us and those who are still doing so."

John Jeffrey, chairman of the Stevenage branch of the Royal British Legion, was overwhelmed at the amount of attendees.

He said: We were pleased to see so many people, especially the young people. I've just been down to the memorial now and I counted 52 wreaths which gives you an idea of the amount of support we have had."

Vicar Michael Roden talked about the unity of religions in valuing life in his sermon to around 500 people who gathered at St Mary's Church in Hitchin.

He said: "We had a record number of organisations taking part. I thought everyone was in a thoughtful mood this year with people thinking back to previous world wars, but also about what is going on in Afghanistan and Iraq."

Biggleswade mayor Wendy Smith was overwhelmed at the support in the town. She said: "It was certainly different to last year. Both events were well attended, but Sunday was incredible this year, the pure numbers were staggering. The cadets appeared to have larger numbers and the beavers and cubs were there in full force".

However, some people were far from quiet as complaints were made about the failure to close Baldock High Street and the resulting noise of passing traffic and blaring music.

"I was annoyed and extremely disappointed that the High Street was not closed off during the service," said local resident Mr M A Lloyd.

"All those present were unable to hear everything due to the noise of passing traffic and I felt that there was no respect given to those wishing to attend the remembrance service, let alone for the men and women who died fighting for our country."

A spokesman for North Hertfordshire Council said: " We have no record of anybody asking for the road closure, if someone asked for it we would consider it.

"There may be a case to close Bell Row during future services due to the new British Legion branch. However, in the 80 odd years of remembrance services we have never had any reason to shut the High Street.

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