Services across East Devon draws thousands to pay their respects across Armistice 100 weekend
- Credit: Archant
The Sid Valley fell silent across Remembrance weekend as thousands gathered to pay their respect in events marking 100 years since the end of World War One.
Dave O’Connor, chairman of the Sidmouth branch of the Royal British Legion, said the attendance on Sunday was the best he had ever seen.
Starting off the weekend of remembrance was a poignant people’s march last Friday, which saw nearly 4,000 people of all ages pack onto Sidmouth seafront.
Sidmouth’s police team escorted the procession in a specially decorated car, which has been covered in poppies.
Citizen of the Year Ian Skinner led the march followed by members of the town council, Sidmouth Lifeboat, chamber of commerce, Royal British Legion, police, fire service and hundreds of school children. Members of the public lined the street and joined behind as the crowd moved in silence towards the seafront to the sound of a muffled drum.
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The event was organised following a suggestion by businessman Edward Willis-Fleming.
Mr Willis-Fleming said: “It’s been amazing, it’s been more than one could of hoped for. Everyone has come out to pay their respects. As a town we have remembered, there are so many people who died in this town. It has been very much a community effort.”
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On Sunday, a parade featuring youngsters from the scouts and cadets, and war veterans marched up the town to the church before a service led by The Reverend Peter Budgell.
Mr O’Connor said: “I have never seen so many people taking part in the parade before in my life. It went all the way down to Fields. There were lots of lots of people. It was absolutely brilliant the best one I have ever been too. The Reverend Peter did an excellent job. The atmosphere was absolutely fantastic.”
Wreaths were also laid at war memorials and services in Ottery, Tipton St John, Salcombe Regis, Sidford and Sidbury.
In Beer and Branscombe, beacons were lit, with the latter taking place on the beach to remember 12 men from the village that lost their lives in World War One.
School children also paid respects with a number of acts of remembrance including, the people’s procession and designing poppies with the names of fallen soldiers.
See our photo gallery from the People’s Procession here