Reporting team: Anna Rainey and Tom Watkins
Red poppies fell from the sky to mark Remembrance Sunday at the end of a moving service held on St George’s Plateau in Liverpool.
People turned out in their thousands to pay their respects despite the gloomy weather, led by members of the armed forces, veterans and bands.
The bands performing were from the Duke of Lancaster’s regiment and the Drums of The Liverpool Scottish Regimental Association. This year’s theme of remembrance was centred around women, and recognising the important role that they play across many sections of the armed forces.
Amongst those taking part was a Royal Air Force veteran who served 20 years, including a Gulf War.
Joseph Courtney said: “I’m 75 so I know a lot of people who’ve died and I come here for them – it means a lot to me.”
His motive behind joining the forces in the 1970s was the two- to three-day power-cuts when their would be no electricity across the nation. With two children at the time, he realised he needed to leave his home city.
Fellow veteran Chris Yates, who served in Iraq with the Royal Tank regiment, said: “I didn’t really know much about the army when I was younger.
“I saw a big poster that said ‘See the world, join the army’, that’s what drew me in.
“My grandad said I was a good a footballer but told me I should join the army, so I did. It was probably the best thing that I’ve done, it taught me life skills in general that’s what it gave me.
“You also make friends for life, brothers. You’ve always got someone on the end of the phone to talk to if your struggling, it’s a brotherhood and we always look out for one another”
the courage of those who fought for freedom.
This was followed by a speech from the Royal British Legion about women who contribute to the forces, including a reminder of the courage of those who fought for freedom.
There was also an emotional and inspiring speech from Tracy Dunn-Bridgemn, who lost her Kingsman son Jason Dunn-Bridgeman in Afghanistan.
She spoke poignantly and eloquently about the horror of losing a child, but also the camaraderie of the armed forces and how since her losing Jason she has always had people supporting and looking out for her.
At 11am there was a two-minute silence started by the fire of the guns when the people of Merseyside came together to remember those who had fallen in war.
Led by the Vice Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside, the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, representatives of Merseyside schools, leaders of political parties, Liverpool City Council and others, wreaths were laid down to pay their respects.
Finally, Muslim faith leaders led a prayer supported by the Royal British Legion, who said they “are proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with the city”.
The service finished with a rendition of Abide With Me sung by the wonderful Danielle Louis Thomas. The armed forces and veterans then marched back to their original position, saluting the cenotaph as they walked past.
Watch our video report here:
Featured image (c) Tom Watkins