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Poignant remembrance service

School children, the Mayor and others socially distance at the war memorial.

Over one thousand people traditionally attend Farnham’s main Remembrance Sunday parade. This year, to keep members of the community safe but still able to be involved, Farnham Town Council broadcast the event live.

A video of the service is available to watch  and shows how Farnham remembered the sacrifices made by local people in the year that marks the 75th anniversary of VE and VJ Day.

Although local residents who would usually wish to attend were asked to watch the service at home, priority was given to veterans and currently serving personnel to participate in a socially distanced event to comply with the government’s regulations.

The Mayor of Farnham, Councillor Pat Evans laid a wreath at Gostrey Meadow War Memorial at 11am on Sunday 8 November on behalf of the people of the town and public services. “As in previous years, representatives of local community groups and organisations joined the Royal British Legion veterans and service personnel in a fitting tribute to the men and women who have lost their lives serving our country. Although the scale of service was smaller, this year’s commemoration was no less poignant or heartfelt,” she said.

The Mayor was joined by Deputy Lieutenant Brigadier Hood QVRM TD DL, the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP and Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner David Munro.

People showed their appreciation on social media with comments such as: ‘So glad this remembrance could go ahead with safe distancing in place. Thank you to all servicemen and service ladies’, ‘As an ex-serviceman I wish we could have been there in person to show respect, but this is a good replacement…’ and ‘Thank you for such a memorable and moving service’.

Remembrance services were also held in Badshot Lea, Hale, Rowledge, The Bourne, Weybourne and Wrecclesham.

Young people play a prominent role in Farnham’s remembrance events and this year was no exception. On Friday 6 November, the Mayor welcomed children from six local schools for a special remembrance service with the Royal British Legion. Special guests also included Brigadier Paul Evans OBE DL who is the President of Surrey County Royal British Legion, Flight Lieutenant Nick Filler 229 (Farnham) Squadron ATC, Captain Willie McKean and CSgt Dean Smith of the Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment.

Julie Aldridge, Manager of the Farnham Schools’ Confederation says: “We are so pleased that this annual event was able to proceed whilst in lockdown. Although fewer schools could be present this year, schools within walking distance of the town centre attended and did a great job at representing members of the Farnham Schools’ Confederation. All of our schools marked Remembrance Day in their own settings on 11 November.”

During the service, which was held at the Gostrey Meadow war memorial, Lily from South Farnham School read ‘Dear Those’; a poem she wrote specially for the occasion as a tribute to the courage and bravery of fallen heroes whilst pupils from Weydon School joined the President of the Surrey Royal British Legion, Brigadier Paul Evans OBE DL in reading The Fallen by Laurence Binyon.

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