Thousands gather to remember

AS the bright November sun shone down on Christchurch Park thousands gathered by the cenotaph to pay their tributes to Suffolk's war heroes.United in their silence, the crowd stood in quiet contemplation as Canon Allen Willett led Ipswich's Remembrance Sunday service.

AS the bright November sun shone down on Christchurch Park thousands gathered by the cenotaph to pay their tributes to Suffolk's war heroes.

United in their silence, the crowd stood in quiet contemplation as Canon Allen Willett led Ipswich's Remembrance Sunday service.

Among those paying tribute to those who gave their lives for our country were members of the 4th Regiment of the Army Air Corps and the 1st Battalion of the Anglian Regiment.

The crowd was one of the biggest ever seen at the service, perhaps an indicator of the impact the war in Iraq has made on people's lives.

Prayers were said for the soldiers currently fighting in the Middle East, as well as their comrades who had fallen before them in the two world wars.

Among those paying their respects in the crowd were 60-year-old Charlie Dench, of Cavendish Street, and his eight-year-old grandson Kai.

Most Read

Mr Dench said: "I come here every year and always bring my grandson. It means everything to be here, to reflect on what people gave and what we've got to thank them for."

Ken Taylor, 61, of Beechcroft Road echoed his sentiments.

He said: "I've always come to this service as I was in the TA for 30 years. My father was killed when I was only six months old so there are a lot of strong personal reasons for me to be here.

"I think there's a lot more interest in Remembrance Day now than there has been for a long while, particularly in light of the things that are going on around the rest of the world at present."

As Ipswich Royal British Legion chairman Peter Thompson pointed out, this year's Remembrance Sunday service was particularly special to the people of Ipswich as it was the first since the refurbishment of the cenotaph was completed.

The cenotaph now contains the 620 names of those from the town who gave their lives in World War Two.

Mr Thompson said: "There must have been over 3,000 people there. It was a beautiful day and we had a great turnout. I think it was encouraged by the fact that the monument has been completely refurbished and for the first time the names of those that died in the Second World War have been included on the plaques."

As the service drew to a conclusion the first wreath was laid by Ipswich mayor Roger Fern on behalf of the people of the town, before dignitaries from other organisations and members of the public placed their own tributes at the foot of the cenotaph.

Meanwhile in Stowmarket, the Royal British Legion marched from the Market Place to the memorial gates of the recreational ground for the laying of the wreaths. This was followed by a helicopter flypast from Three Regiment Army Air Corps at Wattisham.

A special service, taken by Rev Michael Eden, was held in the parish church of St Peter and St Mary beforehand and was attended by Mayor Gordon Paton and Lord Lieutenant Lord Tollemache.

Representatives from the Royal British Legion, Army Air Corps, army cadets, sea cadets, fire service, scouts, guides and St John Ambulance also took part in the parade, which was headed by the Boys Brigade Band.

Mr Paton said: "It was a very moving service and the British Legion were well turned out as usual. It was very pleasing to see so many young people involved, there really was a good mix of generations."

Large crowds also gathered at the Cenotaph in Felixstowe to remember those who had fallen in past conflicts.

The United Reformed Church in the town was packed for a service taken by Rev Nick Mark at 9.45am, which was followed by a march to the memorial at 10.50am.

Mayor Don Smith said: "I was really struck by the great number of people who turned up for the service to remember the dead. It was a touching occasion."

Bury St Edmunds came to a standstill as scores of people lined the streets to pay their respects as the traditional procession moved from the Abbey Gate to the war memorial on the historic Angel Hill.

Veterans marched proudly alongside serving colleagues from RAF Honington and the region's two American bases at Lakenheath and Mildenhall before a silence was impeccably observed and the wreath-laying ceremonies began.