The centre of Eastleigh came to a standstill yesterday as the community gathered together at the town’s ‘Angel of Mons’ war memorial to remember the fallen.
One of the largest crowds for years assembled on the recreation ground to watch the ceremony Led by His Worship, The Mayor of Eastleigh Wayne Irish and his chaplain Father Stephen Holmes.
Representatives from all political parties, the military, ex serviceman’s associations, emergency services and the cadet forces stood together with townsfolk for the annual collective act of remembrance and wreath laying in the pale winter sunshine.
Among the dignitaries attending were the Deputy Lieutenant for Hampshire the Honourable Mrs Virginia Lovell JP, the Right Honourable Chris Huhne MP Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change and representatives from Eastleigh’s twinned towns – Councillor Marc Thiberville from Villeneuve St Georges Herr Sven Koch planning officer for Kornwestheim.
The Council was represented by Chief executive Bernie Topham. Members of Eastleigh Local Are Committee led by Chairman Councillor Chris Thomas also attended.
After the service the parade led by Norman Brown MBE marched past the Old Town Hall where the Mayor and the Deputy Lieutenant took the salute from the ex-servicemen of the Royal British Legion, Polish Ex Combatants Association and Gurkha Brigade association
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 John’s Ambulance service and Eastleigh’s Scout and Guide organisations.
An established part of Eastleigh’s poppy day commemorations is the participation of members of Paul Capper Funeral Directors who annually parade their magnificent horses as a tribute to the animals that also suffered in wartime.
The Last Post and Reveille were sounded by a bugler from Romsey Old Cadets Association.
Meanwhile Deputy Mayor Rupert Kyrle was in Eastleigh’s twin town Kornwestheim taking part in a similar service while Cllr Jane Welsh, Pamela Holden-Brown and John Caldwell led services in Hedge End, Netley Abbey and Chandlers Ford respectively.
Photos: Stephen Slominski