Honouring those who paid the ultimate sacrifice

THOUSANDS gathered all over Newham this morning to pay their respects to those who gave their lives in the defence of freedom.

The massed ranks of current and ex-servicemen and women and civic leaders were joined by people from all communities all over the borough.

The main civic procession left Newham Town Hall and arrived with the parade of veterans and representatives of the Services at Central Park, East Ham.

The Remembrance honoured those in past and present conflicts.

Those assembled stood with heads bowed for the Act of Remembrance, The Last Post and the two-minute silence, the hush broken only by the boom of two blasts from a field gun.

The Exhortation and Kohima was followed by the Reveille.

Wreaths and simple crosses were laid in memory of the fallen as a piper played the bag pipes. And during the second half of the wreath-laying, the winners of the Newham Recorder and British Legion Poetry competition read their poems in honour of those who died.

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Then the hymn, Abide With Me, was followed by prayers, the Commitment, Benediction and the National Anthem.

Then came the march off, and as the parade of Army vehicles left the park under escort, the park returned slowly to normality, with the poppy, floral and wooden cross tributes at the cenotaph remaining in memory of those who died to allow us to live in freedom as we do.

Editor Colin Grainger said: “We are honoured to have played a role in the service again. It was a moving occasion.”

Similar services were held at All Saints West Ham, St Lukes, Canning Town, and St Marks, Silvertown, and in churches and places of worship all over the borough. Hundreds of shops also paid their respects.