'We will remember them': Remembrance Parade in Skegness

It was a battle won when veterans, civic dignitaries, local organisations and the community gathered in Skegness to remember the brave.

Just a few weeks ago there were concerns the Remembrance Day Parade would not happen at all because of lack of volunteer marshalls.

However, a team of more than 30 volunteers turned out early on a crisp but sunny morning to set up barriers and take their positions along the route.

Even the mean theft of aluminium ramps placed along the route so disabled in wheelschairs could join the parade did not prevent them taking part – as if anyone could stop veterans who had fought for their country?

Coun Trevor Burnham was on the Skegness Town Council working party that organised rhe parade.

"If you had asked me a few weeks ago I’d have said this event couldn’t go ahead,” he said. “I’d like to thank everyone involved, including local businesses, for coming forward to help get the volunteers we need."

He decribed the theft of the ramps as “disgusting”.

"It was such a selfish act on such a special day,” he commented. “The ramps were aluminium and were taken just minutes after they were put in place – probably to sell for scrap.

"The matter has been reported to the police and we would ask anyone who knows anything about the theft to report it.”

Huge crowds had already gathered by the memorial at St Matthew’s Church as the parade set off from the back of Hildreds Shopping Centre.

Spectators watched along the route down Lumley Road and into Lumley Avenue.

Burma Star veteran Alfred Conway, 98, from Anderby Creek, was amongst the veterans in the parade.

On the run-up to the parade he had attended the laying up of the Burma Star Standard at St Matthew’s and the Poppy Appeal launch at East Kirkby Aviation Heritage Centre but said he was proud to be out again at the parade.

"Next year will be my 100th year,” he said. “I’ll be here.”

More than 44 representatives of the Skegness branch of the Royal British Legion (RBL), town and county councils, armed services, cadets, local organisations and schools laid wreaths at the memorial.

Mayor of Skegness Coun Pete Barry described it as a special day. “Two things have happened today – one is there is a new Standard for the Police Cadets which is something out of the ordinary. I also have my grandson Matt here with me standing in for his grandmorther who is in hospital after an operation. I served in the Parachute Regiment and Matt is a Staff Sergeant in the Army and I am so proud that we can take part in this Act of Pemembrance together.”

For Skegness RBL Standard Bearer Mark Edwards, it was his last Remembrance Day in that role. Mark said he had been Standard Bearer for two and a half years and, although it had been an honour ‘all great things must end’. “I have enjoyed giving back to the community and remembering the veterans who have fallen,” he said.

"Having been a serving member I take great pride in anything I can do and it helps. Next year I can stand in the crowd and have my own thoughts and that is the best thing about it.”