New Forest and Christchurch towns and villages take part in remembrance commemorations
RECORD numbers of people lined the streets across the New Forest and Christchurch on Sunday to pay their respects on Remembrance Day.
In Lymington the parade assembled outside the town hall before marching to St Thomas’ Church for a service.
A wreath-laying ceremony followed at the war memorial outside.
Lymington and Pennington mayor, Cllr Jack Davies, told the A&T: “It was an incredible weekend of remembrance.
“So many people, from the very young to the very old, turned out to pay their respects to those who have lost their lives in conflict.
“It was certainly the largest turnout since I’ve been involved in remembrance.”
He added: “The Royal British Legion and churches did a great job organising the various service and parades.
“They have done our area proud.”
In Milford, wreaths were laid during a ceremony at the Keyhaven war memorial by dignitaries including Lymington and Pennington mayor, Cllr Jack Davies and New Forest west MP, Sir Desmond Swayne.
A service was also held at Milford’s All Saints’ Church.
In New Milton, 200 people took part in the annual parade from the Crossmead Avenue car park to the memorial, with a further estimated 400 locals watching.
A memorial service followed the parade, led by the Rev. Andy Perryman from Ashley Baptist Church.
Town clerk Graham Flexman told the A&T the event went “very well” and the forecasted wet weather held off.
He added: “It looked to us the biggest turn out yet with around 600 [all together].
“Around 60 wreaths were laid by various organisations [and] the remembrance service afterwards was well attended.”
Commemorations in Christchurch began with a wreath-laying ceremony at the Purewell Cross war memorial, which was followed by a parade which went from the Royal British Legion branch in Bargates to the Priory via High Street.
A wreath-laying ceremony, led by the RBL, also took place at the Priory’s Garden of Remembrance before a one-hour service in the church.
A spokesperson for the town council told the A&T the Priory was “packed out”, with over 500 people attending.
Speaking after, mayor Viv Charrett said: “Christchurch came out en masse for the remembrance service and procession.
“The service was inspiring and the church was full.
“We were so happy that it could all take place in the sunshine before the rain came.
“The march past on the way back from the service was brilliantly executed and all the cadets marched really well and looked very smart.
“A great community day.”
Lyndhurst’s remembrance service took place at St Michael & All Angels Church, before a parade consisting of veterans, soldiers and local dignitaries passed through the High Street at midday.
Wreaths were then laid at the war memorial at Bolton’s Bench by a number of representatives from local organisations including New Forest District Council leader, Cllr Jill Cleary and Official Verderer, Edward Heron.
There was also an RAF flypast.
Vice-chair of the parish council, Cllr Sutti Se-Upara, said: “The people of Lyndhurst are very proud of and grateful to our military and civilian personnel who sacrificed their lives in past wars and who are currently serving in conflicts around the world.
“Remembrance Sunday is one way that we can show our appreciation and gratitude.
“This year has been no different, and if anything has been grander than in the recent past.
“The RAF helicopter flypast at the end made for a particularly big finish, that both impressed and humbled all present.”
In Brockenhurst, a remembrance service was held at St Saviour’s Church, during which names of the Brockenhurst fallen were read out.
A procession from the church then made its way to the war memorial, for a shorter service before wreaths were laid.
In Totton a parade made up of veterans, town councillors and community groups marched from Beaumont Road to the war memorial off Salisbury Road, where wreaths were laid.
Joining the procession in a replica Army vehicle owned by resident Dan Turton was 100-year-old RAF local veteran, David Clark.
David, a former carpenter, made fuel tanks for Mosquito planes during the war and served in Burma, Singapore, Java and India.
In Bransgore, a service was held at St Mary’s Church before a procession made its way to the war memorial for the laying of wreaths and two-minute silence at 11am.
A service was also held at St Mark’s Church, Highcliffe, before an act of remembrance at the war memorial outside.
Various local organisations took part, with schoolchildren reading poems and prayers.
In Hordle, a one-hour remembrance service took place All Saints’ Church Hall before attendees walked to the Everton Road war memorial for a wreath-laying ceremony.
Local organisations took to social media to share their moments of reflection from the day, including crew from Beaulieu Fire Station who attended the service at Beaulieu Abbey church.
Lymington and New Milton Police shared a Facebook post confirming the New Milton neighbourhood policing team attended the town’s commemoration and added: “It was so lovely to see so many members of the community joining together to remember those who gave their lives.”
The post by PCSO Rosie added: “In the afternoon, PC Appleby and I attended the remembrance service at the Indian soldiers’ obelisk, and although the weather wasn’t on our side, again it was wonderful to join in with those in attendance in paying our respects.
“We did not know them all, but we owe them all. Lest we forget.”
Another post from the Lymington neighbourhood policing team said: “It was really nice to see so many members of the community showing their respects.
“It is such an honour for us to be part of something that means so much to everyone.
“The team started early this morning to lay the wreaths at the Sway, Hordle, Keyhaven and Milford-On-Sea’s war memorials.”
Ringwood Police posted: “It was an honour to have been able to lay wreaths and join the parades this morning at services in Ringwood, Fordingbridge, Burley, and Bransgore, to remember those who have fought, and continue to fight for our freedom.”
A Waterside Police Facebook post explained members of the team had attended various parades locally.
It added: “We thank the various groups that have invited us along – it was great to see the community come together in remembrance, for those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, in conflicts both old and new.”
Resident Peter Stevenson organised his fourth Lymington remembrance walk on Armistice Day, with a circular memorial tour of 22 km with a group of fellow fundraisers from the Kings Arms pub in Lymington.
Starting at Milford memorial hospital, they paid their respects at Keyhaven, St Mark's Pennington, Lymington Hospital, Boldre church and memorial hall and South Baddesley, arriving at Lymington memorial for the 11am service.
The group also stopped to lay a wreath at Lymington Hospital’s memorial stone.
Peter started his charity walk around the forest village memorials in 2020 as an act of remembrance and to also raise funds for different organisations.
This year he has chosen to support Scotty’s Little Soldiers, which helps children of parents who lost their lives serving in the armed forces.
To donate visit www.gofundme.com/f/lymington-remebrance-walk-2023