The weather may have been a disappointment – the Heavens opened at 8.30 am, the time most would be readying themselves for a trip to Granville Square – but yet again Stone showed it’s true colours – Poppy Red with a stunning turnout for Remembrance Sunday on November 8th.
Remembrance Sunday in Stone has grown from 20 wreaths to 70 in recent years – and from crowds in their 20’s in the 1970’s to two to three thousand yet again this year.
After 27 years of sterling service, the Parade Marshall, Mr David Cumming, stood down last year and it was a debut appearance for the new Marshall Ivan Prescott.
Every year may take the same format, but every year is different. This year, as in 2014, the Plane Tree still had a full “head of hair” – in previous years,the leaves have all but gone, but again, 2015 has been mild was milder.
The crowds started arriving as early as 10 am and by the time the parade arrived, Granville Square and the High Street down to the Market Square, half way up Station Road and Radford Street were all shoulder to shoulder as far as the eye could see. The Gazette would like to take this opportunity to once again thank Adam Jones for his kind offer of access to the best vantage point for the ceremony.
And on the 11th of November at the 11th hour, Stone’s cenotaph was again the focus for a crowd – by no means as large as on the previous Sunday – but another increase on last year. Thanks as ever to all the volunteers who organise these poignant gatherings.
This year saw the centenary of the Somme, 75 years since the Battle of Britain, and 70 years since the end of of WWII. Amazingly, on October 25th, it was the 600th anniversary of Agincourt. Sadly, all the wars to end all wars haven’t worked and since we last met at the Cenotaph, Syria has escalated, Libya is increasingly unstable and a new Cold War beckons.
As a postscript to Wednesday’s ceremony, the Gazette had a charming call from Harry Townsend (British Legion) who celebrated his 90th at the beginning of the month and saw service in France and later in Palestine and who read the dedication. After he had delivered, he was approached by a young guide or brownie (what are they called these days?) who asked about the badge he was wearing. He gently pointed out that they were medals commemorating his years of service and conflicts to which she naturally replied – aren’t you too old to be fighting?