Remembrance Sunday events around the borough yesterday attracted big crowds as thousands of residents, servicemen and women and veterans honoured those who fell during the conflicts of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Victoria Square in St Helens was packed as a Remembrance parade, organised by St Helens Council and representatives from the local Armed Forces, made its way from Birchley Street to the war memorial in front of St Helens Town Hall.
The parade was headed by veterans and young representatives from the cadets, scouts and guides – and watched by the Mayor and Mayoress of St Helens Councillor Joe Pearson and wife Sylvia; Council Leader Barrie Grunewald; St Helens South MP Marie Rimmer; Chief Executive of St Helens Council Mike Palin; councillors and civic guests.
Reverend Martin Wood of Wesley Methodist Church and Reverend Deacon David Caudwell led a service which involved reading and poems read by Trevor Howard from the Royal Naval Association, Lawrence Powers (Ex 2nd Battalion KOSB) and Chris Lamb – before the Haydock Male Voice Choir and Valley Brass Band closed the ceremony with emotional renditions of Jerusalem and the National Anthem, as wreaths and poppy crosses were laid at the Cenotaph.
In Newton-le-Willows, St Helens North MP Conor McGinn joined Deputy Mayor of St Helens Councillor Pat Ireland; Deputy Lord Lieutenant Jane Dearden MBE – as well as Earlestown and Newton-le-willows ward councillors; civic guests and large crowds – outside Earlestown Town Hall for a Remembrance Day service and wreath laying ceremony involving both current and ex-service personnel.
A poignant moment from this event was the sight of 89-year old Newton resident Horace Roberts getting helped out of his wheelchair to take part in the wreath laying ceremony.
Before laying his wreath, Horace – who served with the Royal Engineers – kissed it, which led to spontaneous applause from the crowd.
St Helens Council Leader Barrie Grunewald said: “Remembrance Sunday is a fitting opportunity for us to honour our servicemen and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
“It was moving to see such an incredible turn out at both events, with the young and old coming together to pay their respects which is a heart-warming reminder that St Helens will always remember.”