August 1 2014 Latest news:
Beth Wyatt, Reporter
Saturday, June 28, 2014
As the midday sun shone brightly overhead, a community rose to pay its respects to a soldier who was killed in Afghanistan more than six months ago.
Dozens of Elm Park residents lined the streets on Sunday to remember Ian Fisher, 42, who was killed in action in Helmand province in November.
The celebration of the warrant officer class 2’s life, organised by the Elm Park Royal British Legion and Ian’s parents Simon and Helen, saw residents and representatives of organisations march from the legion’s base in Maylands Avenue to St Nicholas Church, in Woodcote Avenue.
Among those who took part included soldiers from Ian’s regiment, the 3rd Battalion The Mercian Regiment, the Deputy Lieutenant of Havering, Colonel Mark Bryant, Havering’s mayor, Cllr Linda Trew, representatives from the Elm Park and Romford legions and the Haverettes All Girls Marching Band.
Ian’s father Simon, 67, spoke to the Recorder to praise the “lovely” celebration.
He said: “It was marvellous; the service was brilliant. There were a great many friends and colleagues there and lots of soldiers had come in especially from Germany and Afghanistan.
“It was a lovely day.”
The parade was also attended by Guides and representatives from Sanders School and the RJ Mitchell Primary School, who all provided standard bearers.
Barry Mugglestone, chairman of the Elm Park legion, said: “It was an excellent parade. I was pleased to see so many standard bearers turn up.
“There was excellent work done by our vice-chairman John Watson with help from Joanne Stevens. They basically organised the whole show.”
The church service featured a tribute by Ian’s widow Emma, which was read by Pete Mulingani, a reading by his mother Helen, 69, and a eulogy by warrant officer class 1 Jason Rollins, from The Mercian Regiment.
Catherine Renny, a Year 8 pupil from Sanders School, also read a tribute poem she had written.
Mr Mugglestone added: “I never knew Ian but listening to what was said in church, it showed what a great soldier, a great father, a great husband and a great son he was to the family.”
Mr Fisher said he was particularly touched by the soldiers’ attendance.
“A lot of the soldiers had grown up with Ian and we got to known them through regimental events. I have watched them grow and develop and they really are marvellous men.
“One of the most important things was that Ian was so highly respected. He was loved by the men he looked after and served. When you go out to Afghanistan or Iraq you live with your men, eat with your men and sleep with your men – there’s a tremendous bond of brotherhood there.”
Ian grew up in Elm Park and attended Sanders School (formerly Sanders Draper) and Havering College – then known as Havering Tech.
The soldier, who had two sons, William and James, was laid to rest in December.
Mr Fisher added: “His loss hit me particularly hard, but he had a risky job and life. It is as simple as that. He was a lovely lad.”