What an extraordinary series of Remembrance events we had in Ninfield! From the lovely, family, friendly, respectful, touching service given by Rev Paul Frostick in St Mary’s Church; to the procession from the WW1 grave up to the Memorial Hall - with 50 Scouts and Leaders plus the same number again in members of the public, all proudly following the Cross and Union Flag; then, waiting in the Hall, another 50 plus residents and guests all looking forward to an afternoon of Remembrance and Performance.
The creation of the Drum altar on stage, Union Flag and Bible laying upon, and the Buglers from the British Legion Band playing the Last Post- perfectly- the local names from both world wars read out, wreaths laid at the Rolls of Honour, pictorial displays from the School, History Group, Scouts and Messy Church and a tribute to the Equine service in WW1; then, from the Stage, a lighter note with a sketch from Father Michael Brydon, as a WW1 chaplain, telling stories from ‘The Wipers Times’; the Flanders Fields poem read beautifully by Ruby Wadmore after the Scouts presentation from their time there two weeks ago.
Another poem, Say No To Peace- by Brian Wren, read with clarity by Rev Tricia Williams from the Methodist Church, and then, accompanied by pianist Steven Parry, the lovely ladies from Jo’s Jammas, all dressed in red and black, took the stage. They were joined by David Swales and I; we read letters between Sussex Regiment soldier, Private Percy Whitehouse and his wife Ettie- and the Ladies sang Keep the Home Fires Burning, and I Vow to thee My Country- and, keeping it together was nigh on impossible I tell you!
Then, to finish the performance the audience, led by us all on stage, raucously sang Tipperary and Pack up your Troubles- with sides in opposition and competition!
After the National Anthem, Afternoon tea and cakes was the order of the day, along with a good old natter and catch up- with fond stories, memories and anecdotes filling the Hall.
Clear up, in double quick time, and then, to the Beacon on the Recreation ground for the National Tribute - Battles Over. Our wonderful Tommie Statue was lit up by torches in red and white, poppies made by the Muddy Boots children were planted and scattered at his feet beside the wreaths laid by the Parish Council and the Church.
The Tribute to the Millions was read at 6.50pm, the Last Post was played at 6.55pm, the Beacon was alight at 7pm and the Church bell rang out at 7.05pm.- All with 60 residents watching, in smiling contemplation, and we all thanked God for dry weather throughout.