The centre of Eastleigh came to a stop today (Sunday 14th November) as the community gathered together at the town’s ‘Angel of Mons’ war memorial to remember the fallen of two world wars.
Led by his worship, The Mayor of Eastleigh John Caldwell and his chaplain the Reverend Ian Bird, representatives from all political parties, the military, ex serviceman’s associations, emergency services and the cadet forces joined together with ordinary townsfolk for the annual collective act of remembrance and wreath laying ceremony – despite the cold and damp November weather.
Among the dignitaries attending were the Deputy Lieutenant for Hampshire Antony Chambers, the towns former MP, Lord Chidgey of Hamble and the Towns current incumbent MP the Right Honorable Chris Huhne, who as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change is probably the first cabinet minister to attend the event in Eastleigh.
They were joined by representatives from Eastleigh’s twinned towns.
Kornwestheim in Germany was represented by Bürgermeister Michael Köpple.
The Mayor of Villeneuve St Georges, Slyvie Altman was unable to attend due to civil unrest but sent a deputy instead.
In his address the Mayor reminded the congregation of the sacrifice made by men and women, not only during the world wars, but also in the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan saying:
“They must never be forgotten and we must strive to maintain the freedom and peace that we now enjoy to make our world a better place in which to live.
Each new generation will need to learn of their sacrifice to ensure they did not die in vain”
After the service the parade marched past the Old Town Hall where the Mayor and the Deputy Lieutenant took the salute.
The parade was led by the band of Hampshire Constabulary followed by ex servicemen from the Royal British Legion and Polish Ex Combatants Association led by Norman Brown MBE.
The cadet forces were represented by Eastleigh 11 Platoon, Army Cadet Force and 1216 Squadron (Eastleigh) Air Training Corps.
Also marching were members of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, the Red Cross and St Johns Ambulance service and Eastleigh’s Scout and Guide organisations.
An unusual but regular feature of Eastleigh’s poppy day commemorations is the participation of members of Paul Capper Funeral Directors who paraded a magnificent pair of horses as a tribute to the animals that also suffered in wartime service.
Photos: © Peter Stewart
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