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‘It was a great honour’ - 97-year-old veteran carried torch at remembrance journey launch in Cromer

PUBLISHED: 19:05 15 October 2018 | UPDATED: 10:18 16 October 2018

Noreen Bell, 97, who served in the auxiliary territorial service, with the Royal British Legion remembrance torch at Halsey House in Cromer as the torch tours Norfolk. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Noreen Bell, 97, who served in the auxiliary territorial service, with the Royal British Legion remembrance torch at Halsey House in Cromer as the torch tours Norfolk. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2018

From a 97-year-old who served in the same branch of the army as the Queen, to Norfolk’s youngest standard bearer, all ages came together to launch a veteran charity’s remembrance torch on its journey across the county.

The Royal British Legion’s (RBL) remembrance torch was taken to Ypres, as part of the GP90 Great Pilgrimage, earlier this year.

It has now been returned to Norfolk, where RBL members will carry it across the county, uniting young and old in remembrance of those who gave their lives.

And that journey was launched at an event in Cromer today, when 97-year-old resident Noreen Bell carried the torch through Halsey House, a RBL home for veterans.

Mrs Bell, from North Walsham, said: “It was a great honour to be asked to do it.

Sam Carruthers, 14, a youth member of the Royal British Legion, carries the RBL remembrance torch as it leaves at Halsey House in Cromer during it's tour of Norfolk.  Picture: DENISE BRADLEYSam Carruthers, 14, a youth member of the Royal British Legion, carries the RBL remembrance torch as it leaves at Halsey House in Cromer during it's tour of Norfolk. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“At first I was a bit petrified and didn’t want to let anyone down.”

Mrs Bell served in the auxiliary territorial service, the same branch of the British Army as the Queen, and worked as a clerk.

She added: “I felt very proud of my country. I had two brothers fight in the war and one was shell shocked and he was never the same. We will remember them.”

Old Catton RBL member, Sam Carruthers, 14, the youngest standard bearer in Norfolk said: “It’s good to have people my age coming here and getting involved.

Sally Mills, manager, carries the Royal British Legion remembrance torch at Halsey House in Cromer, with, Sir William Cubitt, left, president RBL Norfolk; Rev Pat Baggaley, and Hugh King, county public relations officer for Norfolk, as the torch tours Norfolk.  Picture: DENISE BRADLEYSally Mills, manager, carries the Royal British Legion remembrance torch at Halsey House in Cromer, with, Sir William Cubitt, left, president RBL Norfolk; Rev Pat Baggaley, and Hugh King, county public relations officer for Norfolk, as the torch tours Norfolk. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“The torch is symbolic and passing it down from the old to the young is part of what it’s for.”

READ MORE: Norfolk Royal British Legion branches to welcome home remembrance torch

The service, held at the home on Monday, October 15 at 11am, saw residents, staff RBL members and visitors gather for readings, prayers and a minute’s silence.

Guests included Cromer mayor David Pritchard, county legion president Sir William Cubitt, prefects from Cromer Academy, and children from Suffield Park nursery school in Cromer.

Richard Edwards of the Norfolk Military Group, carries the Royal British Legion remembrance torch as it leaves Halsey House in Cromer during it's tour of Norfolk.  Picture: DENISE BRADLEYRichard Edwards of the Norfolk Military Group, carries the Royal British Legion remembrance torch as it leaves Halsey House in Cromer during it's tour of Norfolk. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Home manager Sally Mills MBE said: “We were absolutely thrilled to be asked to host this event.

“It’s a chance for our veterans to be involved as well as bringing the community into the home.”

Ms Mills, 58, added: “It has been quite emotional to see residents suited up with their medals on.”

Northrepps RBL chairman, Lorna Fish, 70, said: “To go back in time, and remember the names of those who lost their lives, after 100 years has gone by makes you reflect on what all those people would have done, and the lives and families they would have had.”

The Royal British Legion remembrance torch at Halsey House in Cromer as the torch tours Norfolk.  Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Royal British Legion remembrance torch at Halsey House in Cromer as the torch tours Norfolk. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

And Hugh King, 74, publicity officer for Norfolk RBL, added: “We’re all just here to say thank you to those who lost their lives.”

The torch will travel across Norfolk from Monday, October 15, to Sunday, October 21.

For more information, visit the Royal British Legion’s website.

Richard Edwards of the Norfolk Military Group, carries the Royal British Legion remembrance torch as it leaves Halsey House in Cromer during it's tour of Norfolk.  Picture: DENISE BRADLEYRichard Edwards of the Norfolk Military Group, carries the Royal British Legion remembrance torch as it leaves Halsey House in Cromer during it's tour of Norfolk. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Ben Pearse, 16, front left, from Cromer Academy, and Sam Carruthers, 14, youth member of the RBL, carry the Royal British Legion remembrance torch as it leaves at Halsey House in Cromer during it's tour of Norfolk.  Picture: DENISE BRADLEYBen Pearse, 16, front left, from Cromer Academy, and Sam Carruthers, 14, youth member of the RBL, carry the Royal British Legion remembrance torch as it leaves at Halsey House in Cromer during it's tour of Norfolk. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Hugh King, county public relations officer for Norfolk, speaks at the service for the Royal British Legion remembrance torch at Halsey House in Cromer as the torch tours Norfolk, one of the events to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War.  Picture: DENISE BRADLEYHugh King, county public relations officer for Norfolk, speaks at the service for the Royal British Legion remembrance torch at Halsey House in Cromer as the torch tours Norfolk, one of the events to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Children from Suffield Park Nursery at the service for the Royal British Legion remembrance torch at Halsey House in Cromer as the torch tours Norfolk, one of the events to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War.  Picture: DENISE BRADLEYChildren from Suffield Park Nursery at the service for the Royal British Legion remembrance torch at Halsey House in Cromer as the torch tours Norfolk, one of the events to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Children from Suffield Park Nursery at the service for the Royal British Legion remembrance torch at Halsey House in Cromer as the torch tours Norfolk, one of the events to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War.  Picture: DENISE BRADLEYChildren from Suffield Park Nursery at the service for the Royal British Legion remembrance torch at Halsey House in Cromer as the torch tours Norfolk, one of the events to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The standards are lowered during the service for the Royal British Legion remembrance torch at Halsey House in Cromer as the torch tours Norfolk, one of the events to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War.  Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe standards are lowered during the service for the Royal British Legion remembrance torch at Halsey House in Cromer as the torch tours Norfolk, one of the events to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Royal British Legion remembrance torch lies next to the cross on the altar at Halsey House in Cromer as the torch tours Norfolk, one of the events to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War.  Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Royal British Legion remembrance torch lies next to the cross on the altar at Halsey House in Cromer as the torch tours Norfolk, one of the events to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Halsey House residents watch the service for the Royal British Legion remembrance torch in Cromer as the torch tours Norfolk, one of the events to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War.  Picture: DENISE BRADLEYHalsey House residents watch the service for the Royal British Legion remembrance torch in Cromer as the torch tours Norfolk, one of the events to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Halsey House residents watch the service for the Royal British Legion remembrance torch in Cromer as the torch tours Norfolk, one of the events to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War.  Picture: DENISE BRADLEYHalsey House residents watch the service for the Royal British Legion remembrance torch in Cromer as the torch tours Norfolk, one of the events to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Rev Pat Baggaley takes the service for the Royal British Legion remembrance torch at Halsey House in Cromer as the torch tours Norfolk, one of the events to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War.  Picture: DENISE BRADLEYRev Pat Baggaley takes the service for the Royal British Legion remembrance torch at Halsey House in Cromer as the torch tours Norfolk, one of the events to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Rev Pat Baggaley takes the service for the Royal British Legion remembrance torch at Halsey House in Cromer as the torch tours Norfolk, one of the events to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War.  Picture: DENISE BRADLEYRev Pat Baggaley takes the service for the Royal British Legion remembrance torch at Halsey House in Cromer as the torch tours Norfolk, one of the events to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Noreen Bell, 97, who served in the auxiliary territorial service, with the Royal British Legion remembrance torch at Halsey House in Cromer as the torch tours Norfolk. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYNoreen Bell, 97, who served in the auxiliary territorial service, with the Royal British Legion remembrance torch at Halsey House in Cromer as the torch tours Norfolk. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Noreen Bell, 97, who served in the auxiliary territorial service, takes the Royal British Legion remembrance torch from Richard Edwards who delivered it to Halsey House in Cromer as the torch tours Norfolk.  Picture: DENISE BRADLEYNoreen Bell, 97, who served in the auxiliary territorial service, takes the Royal British Legion remembrance torch from Richard Edwards who delivered it to Halsey House in Cromer as the torch tours Norfolk. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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