Cromer salutes the fallen in "faultless" weekend of events
PUBLISHED: 10:19 13 November 2018 | UPDATED: 11:11 13 November 2018
Thousands of poppies petals cascaded down on a 500-strong congregation at Cromer Parish Church at the weekend, as part of a series of events organised by the town council to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armistice.
Cromer’s newly-restored war memorial was unveiled and rededicated on Saturday by the Marquess of Townshend, whose grandfather performed the same duty when the memorial was installed in the churchyard in 1921.
The five year, £42,000 project has seen stonemasons add the names of the Second World War dead to the monument, as well as carving figures including an airman, an infantryman, a sailor, a Red Cross nurse and St George slaying the dragon.
Fourth generation bagpipe player Jacob Millin, who is a teacher at Sheringham Woodfields School, piped in the dawn on Sunday, playing Battle’s O’er on the steps of the parish church surrounded by a small crowd who turned out at 6am to pay their respects.
Mr Millin, whose grandfather played the pipes on Sword Beach during D-Day to rally the landing troops, also led the congregation into the church for the rededication service.
On Sunday, a parade headed by the TS Warrior Cadet Band marched to the church for an afternoon service and wreath-laying ceremony, with evening events beginning with a torchlit procession and ending with the lighting of a beacon by Cromer mayor David Pritchard and North Norfolk District Council vice chairman Brian Hannah.
Mr Pritchard, who led the restoration project, said the weekend’s events, which also included the unveiling of a bench dedicated to former mayor Tony Nash at the town cemetery and three blue plaques at local sites affected by the First World War, had been “faultless”.
“Walking in the procession, I never imagined I would see over 500 people in the church on both the Saturday and Sunday, and making my speech, it was very emotional and quite difficult not to get upset,” he said.
“What happened at the weekend is, as far as I’m concerned, a piece of Cromer history, it couldn’t have been better and I think it will stay in people’s memories for many years to come.”