Havering’s armed forces honoured by ‘heart warming’ show of support in Romford

PUBLISHED: 16:03 26 June 2017 | UPDATED: 16:22 26 June 2017

Armed Forces Day parade in Romford.

Armed Forces Day parade in Romford.

Ellie Hoskins +44(0)7743306087

People from all across Havering came to Romford on Saturday to celebrate and pay their respects to the men and women that fight to keep our country safe.

The Armed Forces Day celebrations kicked off with a parade of veterans, soldiers, cadets and brownies marching from South Street, up through Romford Market before coming to a halt outside the town hall.

Well-wishers young and old lined the streets waving union jack flags and the Mayor of Havering councillor Linda Van de Hende was delighted with the public show of support for the armed forces.

“It’s my first one and it’s always nice to walk through the market and wave to the kids,” said Mrs Van de Hende. “I think it’s very important to celebrate something like this because our armed forces do an amazing job.

Maria Wilkinson, of Marks Road, Romford, read a poem which she wrote for the occasion and spoke of importance of honouring our troops past and present.

“Even if it’s a hundred years ago, we shouldn’t forget those people that died. We can never give them enough for what they did for us.”

Maria and her husband David, with the help of Michelle Fitzgibbon from Romford Shopping Hall, also raised £750 for the charity Veteran’s Aid - which supports homeless veterans.

Charlie Turner, 34, major officer commanding the 4th power 4th battalion parachute regiment in Romford, talked about the need to maintain the link between civilians and soldiers.

“It’s a chance for us to acknowledge being a part of the community and for members of the local community to say thank you - it’s very heart warming,” said Charlie.

“No one joins the military for financial remuneration - it’s about personal commitment and wanting to give something back, it’s nice to be a part of something bigger than yourself.”

Patrick Perry, 87, served in the RAF between 1947 and 1958 and despite recently having an operation on his knee he was “still fit enough to do the march”.

“It was brilliant, had I not met my wife I would have stayed for 25 years,” said Patrick.

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