Remembrance Day 2017: Rainham honours the sacrifice of the UK's armed forces
PUBLISHED: 11:15 13 November 2017
Rainham residents braved chilly conditions on Sunday to attend the town's Remembrance parade and service.
At 10.40am representatives of local organisations, including war veterans and a large Scout and Girl Guide presence, marched in procession along Upminster Road South to the clock tower war memorial that sits next to the Parish church.
There was a notably big turnout, with much agreement amongst regular attendees that it was “the best turnout ever”.
The service, managed by the Lightnin’ Drama Group, was presided over by Rev Henry Pradella of Rainham Parish Church, and Rev Emmanuel Deji Okegibile of Rainham Methodist Church.
After the reverends opened the service, veteran of the Korean War, Lawrence Paul, read out the poem ‘Flanders Fields’ by John McCrae.
Mr Paul, attending the service with his son, joined the army in 1946 aged 16 and a half.
The veteran was also carrying medals awarded to his older brother who was killed in action in January 1944.
He said that his brother had completed three tours with the RAF and was meant to have finished, but volunteered for one last mission, in which he was killed.
There were many attendees with people or experiences to remember during the two minute silence at 11am.
Peter Burdett, a current WO1 (high level Warrant Officer) was there with his partner and children.
He said: “I have been serving for over 30 years now so I’m very aware of people that have served in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“I think it’s two things: remembrance, which is good to do as a serving soldier, and giving the youngsters a chance to see someone in uniform today so they get a bit more of an appreciation of what it’s all about.”
One such youngster in attendance was ten year old Sarah Weavers, a member of the 2nd Rainham Scout Group.
Sarah, who took part in the parade told the Recorder she was there to “lay the poppies on the clock and think about the soldiers.”
Lightnin’ Drama Group director Sue Ospreay, was pleased with the occasion, saying she thought it went “really well”.