Armistice Day remembered across Norfolk

In towns and villages around Norfolk and Suffolk today, people came to a standstill to remember our wartime heroes.

In Dereham, the town honoured its lost heroes during a merciful break in the rain as veterans and townspeople gathered to observe two minutes of silence.

Traffic and shoppers came to a standstill around the war memorial on Market Place as a lone bugler sounded the Last Post to mark Armistice Day at 11am.

The respectful crowd included about 30 children from Dereham Church Infant School.

A short remembrance service was conducted by the Rev Jenny Taylor and the rector of Dereham, Canon Sally Theakston, who had assumed her colleague's role as the town's Royal British Legion chaplain the previous evening.

She said: 'It is particularly important to remember the continuing importance of Armistice Day when we currently have soldiers serving in Afghanistan who are risking their lives, and I think the fact that other people's lives are touched by that is demonstrated by the number of young people coming to our parades.

'In Dereham in particular, our lives have been touched by the Light Dragoons who are based nearby.'

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The service at the memorial included standard bearers from the Royal British Legion, Royal Naval Association and the Royal Air Forces Association.

David Lambert, president of the Dereham and District Royal Naval Association, said he was proud to be attending his 56th consecutive year of remembrance services.

'We have got to keep remembering, otherwise we would not be a free county,' he said. 'We enjoy the freedom that we have and we must not forget how it was earned.'

In Fakenham, the two minute silence to honour those who have sacrificed their lives for their country was immaculately observed.

The Market Place is usually a bustling hive of activity on Thursdays when the town's popular market is held, but it came to a standstill at 11am when an estimated 150 people gathered by the war memorial in cold wind and rain that added to the sombre atmosphere.

Fakenham mayor Janet Holdom said: 'Through my work with the town council and the Fakenham Area Partnership I am involved with lots of community groups in the town and I made an effort to get them all to come along.

'I am delighted that they responded and that there was such an excellent turnout of people, we don't usually have this many.

'I was particularly pleased to see a group of students from Fakenham High School and College. It is important for the younger generation to be a part of this as we will rely on them to keep this event going in Fakenham in the future.'

In Cromer, scores of people gathered respectfully around the war memorial on Church Street to remember the fallen.

Bitter wind and persistent rain did not put people off, and they saw a brief service of remembrance conducted by Cromer curate David Frederick. The two minutes' silence was observed impeccably.

In Lowestoft, about 30 people braved heavy winds and rain on the Royal Plain to remember the nation's war dead.

At 11am a two minute silence was observed to mark Armistice Day after a short service was held by the Rev Duncan McCann.

Despite the blustery conditions wreaths were then laid at the town's war memorial by D-Day veteran, John Bayliss, 85, and Emma Callistan, the wife of Sgt Jason Callistan who died last month after a motorcycle crash at Hepworth, near Diss.

Sgt Callistan, 30, of Yarrow Drive, Carlton Colville, served with 33 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) and had done a tour of Afghanistan.

Mr Bayliss, who served with the Northhumberland Fusiliers, said it was important people attended remembrance events and yesterday's ceremony had bought back many memories.

In King's Lynn, the bustling shopping centre fell silent as the town remembered those who gave their lives in service for their country.

Veterans and townspeople gathered on Broad Street close to the Vancouver Shopping Centre as West Norfolk deputy mayor Trevor Manley addressed the crowd.

He said: 'Let us remember those who have given their lives in the first and second world wars and the 70 conflicts since.'

The Last Post then echoed around the town as standards from the King's Lynn, Middleton and Gaywood Royal British Legion branches were dipped to mark Armistice Day at 11am.

Following the two minutes silence, a short remembrance service was then conducted by the Rev Chris Ivory from the nearby St Margaret's Church in the town.

Jerry Tann, chairman of the King's Lynn Branch of the Royal British Legion, was pleased with the crowd who paused to remember.

He said: 'It's just as important today to keep remembering as it was all those years ago.

'I always say to people if they can't get to a dedicated service, they should just stand where they are for a couple of minutes.

'As long as people acknowledge those people who have lost their lives for our freedom, it makes such a difference.

'It also shows those currently serving that what they are doing is and will always be appreciated.'

The Last Post echoed around the Market Place in Diss as hundreds of people braved the wet and windy conditions to mark Remembrance Day with a two minute silence.

Rev Ben Sasada, padre for the Royal British Legion, praised the attendance for the short service. A parade will take place from Mere's Mouth to St Mary's Church, Diss, at 2.30pm on Sunday.

People in Beccles, Bungay, Halesworth and Loddon also gathered to observe a two minute silence.

In Thetford, a two-minute silence was led by town mayor Pauline Quadling and town council clerk Ed Chambers who both attended the town's war memorial in the market place at 11am to lay a wreath.

The normally bustling town centre fell silent as all paid tribute to the fallen.

At 11am in Brandon, a two-minute silence was also held on the Market Hill.