Remembrance Sunday in Newham: Community honours those who made the ultimate sacrifice

The community gathered at East Ham Cenotaph 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 a huge gathering of East Ham’s Central Park as we community remembered those who died in conflict of the Two World Wars, battles since and current


The civic procession left Newham Town Hall and the parade of veterans and representatives of the Services and community grups arrived at the park.

Each year more attend to pay their respect, and this year was no exception. The service, conducted by East

Ham Royal British Legion padre, the Rev Fred Asford-Okal opened with the hymn, O God Our Help In Ages past.

The Rev Ashford-Okalsaid it was a special day of Remembrance as we “honoured those who gave their lives so we could live ours.”

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He said: “This is a special act of commemoration and we are also marking the 90th anniversary of the British Legion, who are the faithful custodians of Remembrance for the community.

“We are proud that so many of our community are here today.”

Those assembled stood with heads bowed for the Act of Remembrance, The Last post and the two-minute silence.

The Exhortation and Kohima was followed by the Reveille.

Among those to lay wreaths or crosses at the memorial were Mayor Sir Robin Wales, Chief Executive Kim Bromley-Derry and

Lord Lieutenant for Newham Col Mike Dudding. Representatives of the Legion, community groups and organisations and then

people of all ages then placed poppy wreaths or simple crosses 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, which gets more popular every year read their poems in honour of those who died. All four winners, Marion Sage of Stratford, Joan Crumlish of East Ham, and youngsters Sarfaraz Salim, 13, of Forest Gate, and Millie Rees, nine, from Bristol, were present with the families.

Amazingly, Millie made the journey from Bristol with her brother Adam, 11, and proud mother Samantha, to be a part of the Remembrance Service.

It was moment of high emotion as the poems were read out.

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 left the park and hundreds stayed behind to look at the tributes left on the Cenotaph.

The park returned slowly to normality, with the poppies, floral tributes and wooden cross tributes remaining at thecenotaph in memory of those who made the ultimate sacrific.

Recorder Editor Colin Grainger said: “We are extremely honoured to have played a role in the service again. It was a moving occasion. This occasion remembers the past and present and is a tradition that has been part of our lives forever.”

Afterwards, many of the thousands present came up to the poetry writers to congratulate them and said their works “had brought a tear to our eyes.”

Sir Robin Wales said: “We pay homage to all those that have died in the line of duty. We must never forget what they have done for us.”

This morning there was also a service at All Saints West Ham Parish Church, Church Street, West Ham, conducted by the Rev Stennett Kirby. A wreath was laid by Deputy Mayor Councillor Andrew Baikie, and West Ham MP Lyn Brown and others.

Elsewhere chair of the council, Collr Amarjit Singh, attended a service at St Mark’s Memorial in the grounds of Brick Lane Music Hall, Factory Road, Silvertown. It was preceded by a Royal British Legion parade from nearby Constance Street.

In Canning Town, deputy chair of the council, Cllr Michael Nicholas, laid a wreath at St Luke’s Memorial in Tarling Road, Canning Town. A service of remembrance was lead by the Rev David Wade.

Millions of people across the countryhonoured the men and women killed in conflicts past and present.

The Queen has laid a wreath at London’s Cenotaph as part of the Remembrance Sunday events being held around the UK to honour the country’s war dead. Other members of the royal family, politicians including the prime minister, religious leaders and military chiefs also attended.

More than 7,000 ex-servicemen and women marched past the Cenotaph, followed by civilians including 60 war widows.

A two-minute silence was observed. Gunfire from the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery signalled the start of the two-minute silence as Big Ben chimed. The Queen laid the first wreath, and her family, including the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge, the Duke of York, the Earl of Wessex, the Princess Royal and the Duke of Kent also attended. Lt Gen Sir John Kiszely, of the Royal British Legion, said the commemorations this year were “as important as ever”.