Remembrance Sunday: huge crowds in Littlehampton honour soldiers on Armistice centenary
Littlehampton turned out in force to honour the soldiers that fought and died in the First World War on Remembrance Sunday.
On the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, thousands turned out in Littlehampton to pay their respects to those who gave their lives in the Great War, in which around 750,000 British soldiers died.
A march took place from the town clock in the high street precinct at 10.30am, winding its way to the Littlehampton War Memorial in the town centre, outside the Arun Civic Centre.
A service was held at St Mary’s Church in Church Street, Littlehampton, at 11am.
Littlehampton mayor Billy Blanchard-Cooper laid a wreath at the ceremony. He said: "With this year seeing the country commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the first World War it has been amazing to see how much Littlehampton has done to acknowledge this and pay their respects to those who fell.
"The Rememberance day parade was by far the most well attended I can remember and as I stood in front of the Cenotaph I was pleased by what a wonderful turnout of people were there, filling the area to come together to pay their respects.
"At St Mary's Church after the parade Rev Martin Seymour gave a touching service which I am sure will have made everyone really think about all that we have to be thankful for.
"Come the evening I was astounded by the number of people who had come out in force to once more pay their respects and take part in the national beacon lighting event.
"The rain didn't dampen the spirits nor wash the crowds away. The whole day filled me with pride in our town particularly as I watched the children from the local uniformed groups take to the stage by the sea to read the names of those who have fallen."
Littlehampton’s German Twin Town of Durmersheim was officially represented by former Councillor Klaus Kuntz, on behalf of the Burgermeister, Andreas Augustin. He was laying a wreath in our joint twin town of Chennevieres sur Marne outside Paris, together with David Twinn, chairman of the Littlehampton Twinning Association. Klaus Kuntz laid the German wreath - mirroring the President of Germany who laid a wreath at the Cenotaph in London after the Queen - at the same time as Mr Blanchard-Cooper and Alan Gammon, chairman of Arun District Council.
Mr Gammon’s grandfather was badly burnt fighting on the front lines, but returned to the Battle of the Somme once he recovered and saw out the rest of the war.
The councillor said the beacon lighting on the promenade, which took place at 7pm, was a ‘light for peace’ to him.
He said: “Littlehampton never fails to do things right. If there is something to be celebrated or remembered like this, they will put everything into it.
“I felt very proud; not only of our country, but of the people who live in this town.” West Sussex County Councillor Dr James Walsh laid the county council wreath, wearing the uniform of a Royal Navy Surgeon Captain.