People across Haslemere fell silent this Sunday in honour of the men and women who have given their lives in service of our country.
The rain held off as hundreds gathered to watch the procession to the war memorial in town where uniformed cadet groups, scouting and other youth organisations including the Brownies marched with community and civic representatives.
Haslemere Town Band sounded The Last Post and the rector and mayor Jerome Davidson lead the crowd in a service of remembrance. The ceremony was especially poignant as the rector prayed for peace in the conflict between Israel and Gaza and for Ukraine.
Many gathered to lay a wreath on the war memorial, including Haslemere Museum and the Rotary club, as Cllr Jerome read the names of the people from Haslemere who lost their lives in the two World Wars.
Cllr Jerome Davidson said: “It was an honour to lead the procession. We are extremely privileged that our armed forces, and all those who serve or have served, make such huge sacrifices to protect our nation.
“I would like to thank the local organisations, volunteers and community groups who gave their time to ensure that the event passed off so smoothly.”
Thanks to former mayor Fay Foster the Guides, Scouts, Brownies and Cubs were among those who marched during the service on Sunday. In 1976 Fay was running the 4th Haslemere Guides when it was decided young people would no longer march. Fay and her Guiders “were furious” and decided to march anyway.
She said: “That did it. It appears all the other youth groups started demanding why they couldn’t be in the procession too. The following year they were all back and, apart from lockdown, have been an integral part of the service and ceremony since.”
The town was awash with red with poppies pinned to jackets and wrapped around street signs, and a whole sea of them are hanging from St Christopher’s Church.
Each poppy displayed at St Christopher’s was created by children at local schools, with volunteers then adding them to the net in commemoration of the end of the First World War.
Haslemere Royal British Legion chairman and Poppy Appeal organiser Jim Edwards said: “This year’s appeal has once again shown that Haslemere residents stand shoulder to shoulder with the members of our armed services community both past and present in generously donating at locations in our lovely town.”
Jim will be announcing how much this year’s appeal raised once the figures have been finalised.