Photo gallery: An estimated 2000 attend Dereham Remembrance Day parade
Archant © 2012
Dereham’s Remembrance Day commemorations were among the biggest in living memory today as an estimated 2000 people packed into the town centre.
The parade - which included veterans from several conflicts as well as those currently in the armed forces - assembled in bright autumn sunshine on the Cherry Tree car park and marched to the war memorial in the Market Place for an open air service.
People of all ages were several deep in places to see wreaths laid on the memorial, hear the Last Post and join in the two minutes’ silence and hear prayers ready by rector the Rev Sally Theakston.
Among those laying wreaths were Kelvin and Katrina Hendry, whose son Lewis - a private in the 3rd Battalion Parachute Regiment - was killed on patrol in Afghanistan in February 2011.
Representatives from the RAF, Army, ex service organisations, emergency services, uniformed youth groups, dignitaries and a range of local organisations put down wreaths.
Dereham Royal British Legion president David Fairweather - who publicly thanked local people at the end of the service - said: “It was an incredible turnout and I cannot thank people enough for their support.
“It means so much to those still serving and the ex-servicemen. It really lifts them as they march. When I looked across the Market Place I could not believe people were right back to the pedestrian crossing.”
Many people in the crowd commented on a high pitch hum from the PA system in the Market Place during the silence.
One man at the open air service said: “Please whoever organises the tannoy please fix it, For the last two years we have interference during the silence and can never hear the padre give the thoughts at their address. Technology today must enable this issue to be sorted out.”
Mr Fairweather said: “We will look in to it and make sure something is done for next year.”
Paramedics were called after an elderly man collapsed from a suspected seizure at the end of the silence.
After the service, the parade marched to Dereham’s St Nicholas Parish Church for the traditional Remembrance Day service.
Among the guests was Madame Marie-Paule Pignaud, a member of the council responsible for twinning from Dereham’s French twin town Caudebec-les-Elbeuf. It is the first time someone from the town has visited Dereham for Remembrance Sunday commemorations.