The common observation from all the Remembrance Day commemorations held locally and nationally was that the crowds had never been bigger and it was particularly uplifting to see so many young people turn out. I laid wreaths at the formal ceremonies at the formal ceremonies in Shoreham and Lancing and attended moving services at St Michael’s Church Southwick and Shoreham Fort and joined the Town Crier’s ‘sing-song’ for the lighting of the beacon on Worthing prom.
Amidst all the ceremony it was some of the more informal moments that I found most moving. With help from the Southwick Society researchers identified the names of 146 Southwick men who had given their lives during the Great War. Amidst some very touching poetry readings at St Michael’s and a roll call of the 146 and their ages the congregation were invited to lay a knitted poppy at the altar and a candle was lit for each of them. What really brought home the scale of the tragedy was the number of names from the same family and familiar names at that of Southwick families still living there now.
At Shoreham Fort on the Sunday evening Gary Baines, Sharon Penfold and their dedicated band of Fort volunteers really did a fantastic job. Again a lot of work had been done to identify the Shoreham men who died in WW1 and residents of the houses or what are now shops where they once lived were invited to place red lanterns on the top of the ramparts. A quietly moving chain of locals climbed the steps as a screen revealed the names and images from the war lit up the dark night. Father Terry was brought out of retirement to conduct a short service and at 7pm High Sheriff Caroline Nicholls was called upon the light the beacon, which she did far more effectively than when I was called upon to attempt to light some rather damp wood a few years earlier. In Worthing they were taking no chances and always use gas!
Well done to all those involved in making the tribute from across Adur and Worthing such a meaningful and successful one.
It was a unique way to end Remembrance Sunday when I was invited to attend the Sussex Bangladeshi Caterers Association Chef of the Year Award Ceremony and Gala Dinner at the Assembly Hall in Worthing and present an award. After the solemnity of the day we were entertained with an uplifting array of singing, Bollywood dancing and some of the region’s best ‘Indian’ restaurant chefs including several from Worthing, and eventually got some excellent curry too!