Towns remember Armistice Day with parades and services
PUBLISHED: 16:19 12 November 2018 | UPDATED: 16:30 12 November 2018
Communities across Norfolk and Suffolk have marked 100 years since the Great War's armistice with a host of processions, services and events.
In Thetford, a Lone Piper played in the Market Square at 6am, there was a Remembrance parade and service at the town memorial at 11am, and a First World War exhibition at Thetford Guildhall, which was covered in a cascade of thousands of poppies. In the evening there was a torchlight procession and fireworks.
The town also took part in the Battle’s Over national Beacons of Light event, which saw thousands lit across the UK.
Thetford mayor councillor Roy Brame, who led the parade, described the events as well worth the wait.
He said: “It was probably the most moving day I have ever had. We were expecting 100 people with torches to come down Castle Street down to the market but it must have turned into 300 people.”
At Thetford Academy, pupils created 1,000 clay poppies that were displayed in the flowerbeds around the Market Place.
On Friday, November 9 the Carnegie Room hosted the Royal British Legion Remembrance Concert.
Meanwhile in Brandon, which was decorated in hand-made poppies by volunteers at various locations earlier this month, a Royal British Legion parade marched from the Brandon Leisure Centre car park to St Peter’s Church for a remembrance service.
An ‘act of remembrance’ then took place at Brandon Cemetery with the laying of wreaths and the Last Post, followed by a First World War exhibition at Brandon Heritage Centre. At the Church Institute there was a lighthouse service, and Brandon’s own Beacon of Light was lit at St Peter’s Church.
Watton also took part in Battle’s Over, and held a service of remembrance led by Rev Gerry Foster of St Mary’s Church at the sports centre. On Saturday, November 10, there was a commemoration of Commonwealth war graves at Watton Cemetery.
Tina Kiddell, Watton town mayor said: “Sunday, November 11 saw Watton turn up in their droves to attend the town’s special remembrance parade. As Mayor of Watton I was humbled to be part of such a special anniversary.
“It went without a hitch and I’d like to say a huge thank you to Norfolk Constabulary who looked after us so well. Also to Pat Murphy our Parade Marshal and To Paul Wetherill who brought us an array of amazing military vehicles.
“The church too who worked closely with me to bring off a day for the community, ending with a celebration at the Watton sports centre, thank to them for putting on a lovely war time themed buffet.
“The whole day was community driven, and pulled us all together. Certainly a day I am so very proud to say I was part of.”
Swaffham saw one of the largest parades in recent history to mark Armistice Day and included many local organisations.
The Swaffham and District Lions were among the service groups there.
Lead by the band, the parade went from the town’s infant school to the war memorial where Lion president, Alan Jude, laid a wreath along with other leaders.
The Lions also recently held the first of two events to mark the 100 years since the end of the First World War.
Barrie Thorp, chairman of the Swaffham Royal British Legion, said: “It is great to see the town so engaged in the commemoration of this special Anniversary. It’s more important than ever to say thank you and make sure we don’t forget the lessons learnt.”
On Sunday the town joined the national Battle’s Over tribute starting with a Lone Piper, Brian Baxter, playing Battle’s O’er at 6am. In the evening there was a Service at the War Memorial followed by the lighting a Beacon of Light, the town crier’s Cry for Peace Around the World and the church bells Ringing Out for Peace.
Town mayor, Colin Houghton, launched The Swaffham Poppy Display back in August, Colin said “I wanted the whole town to join in and help create a really special commemorative display.
“I have been humbled by the contributions that have been made, everyone has joined in from churches and businesses to schools and local community groups. It’s fantastic to see the town pull together to mark the 100th Anniversary.”
At the Barn Theatre, Three’s Company performed the play Momentous Times. The evening raised £467 for the British Red Cross.