Remembrance Day: Parade in Elm Park attracts hundreds
PUBLISHED: 16:04 10 November 2013 | UPDATED: 14:31 09 December 2014
Hundreds of people gathered outside Elm Park's Royal British Legion for the annual Remembrance Day parade to St Nicholas Church this morning.
Among them were veterans, family members of those who had served in the armed forces, uniformed groups, councillors and other community leaders.
Joanne Stevens, poppy organiser for the legion, said she hoped the parade would attract more people into the organisation.
“The parade is to encourage the youngsters,” she said, “because they’re the ones who are going to carry on the remembrance once we’re all too old and infirm.”
The legion aims to raise £30,000 through its Poppy Appeal activities this year. Last year, it bagged £25,500 for the families of those wounded and killed in service.
Many had turned up to honour friends and family members who had served in conflicts both recent and long ago.
Daisy and Connor Delaney, eight and 10, were in uniform with the 1st Elm Park brownies and scouts. Their grandfather Leonard Day had served in Italy during the 1940s.
And Gary Stevens was there in memory of his grandfather John Stevens MBE, who was a prisoner of war in Austria during the Second World War, having served in the Navy aboard HMS Gloucester.
“He was on the ship on May 22, 1941,” explained Gary, 63, of Hornchurch, “and it was attacked from the air.
“The Germans sank the boat, and the captain ordered everyone to vacate.
“Some men passed on, but my father was a good swimmer.”
More than 60 1st South Hornchurch cubs, scouts and beavers attended the parade – a good turnout according to assistant scout leader Paul Hayward.
“I was impressed,” he said. “It’s the quietest they’ve ever been.”
One group that wasn’t remotely quiet was the Haverettes all-girls marching band, who led the parade with rousing renditions of The Final Countdown, December 1963 (What a Night) and the Rocky theme, among others.
“We’ve got about 20 girls here,” said officer Kerry Atkins, 38, who started in the band as a cornet played aged just 11. “They did really well.
“We’re always honoured and proud to do Remembrance Sunday.”
Senior air craftman Joe Thornett, 23, was at the parade in honour of his grandfather SAC Peter Thornett, who served at RAF Henlow for two years.
“This is amazing,” he said. “I’ve lived in Elm Park all my life and it’s really nice to see the numbers pick up every year.”
To see more pictures from the day, click on the gallery to the top-right, and to read more Remembrance Sunday stories from Havering, click on the tab on our home page.