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‘Record numbers’ pay their respects in Northampton

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Thousands of people fell silent around All Saints Church this morning as “record numbers” paid their respects to the UK’s war dead on Remembrance Sunday.

The annual service was held inside All Saints, in Northampton town centre, starting at 10am, with the church packed full of veterans, dignitaries as well as young members from groups and organisations from across Northampton.

The service, led by Reverend Dr David McConkey, culminated in the singing of the National Anthem, before the proceedings moved to the war memorial behind the church.

Thousands of onlookers joined millions across the globe to fall silent for two minutes at 11am.

Eyewitnesses said they had never seen so many people attend the annual Armistice Day remembrance service in Northampton.

Wreaths were then laid in the garden of remembrance by dignitaries, including the Mayor of Northampton, Roger Conroy, the town’s MPs Brian Binley and Michael Ellis, and the chief constable of Northamptonshire Police, Adrian Lee.

A parade, lead by the Northampton Pipe Band and including the Sea Cadets, police cadets, St John Ambulance volunteers, British Legion members, war veterans and the Boy’s Brigade, then trooped along Mercer’s Row, into The Drapery and back up through George Row, before finishing at The Guildhall.

One veteran, Bob Smith, from Hunsbury Meadow, said the strength of public feeling towards soldiers, both past and present, was as strong as it has ever been.

The 77-year-old, who served in Suez in 1956, said: “People are definitely taking more of an interest. When I walked down the road people actually come up to you and say thank you. It is super.”

Allan Prebble, pipe major for the Northampton Pipe Band, said: “We hope we give a good show, we hope we look smart for the town and we have noticed over the last few years that the numbers of people the Armistice service has probably quadrupled.

“That is a testament to the people of the town.”
Leader of Northampton Borough Council, David Mackintosh, added: “It is always nice to see the turn-out and to see the way the people of Northampton do honour the people who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

“It is the highlight of the calendar here in Northampton and it wonderful how all the organisations and people come together to remember those people who lost their lives.”

Michael Ellis, MP for Northampton North, said the service and proceedings had been “poignant” and “moving”.

He said: “I found the stillness during the laying of the wreaths very moving. There were thousands of people in absolute silence.

“What is so special about these events is it brings people from all walks of life together. It bring people together in the spirit of remembrance and I think it is important we bear in mind our brave serving personnel abroad.”

 

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