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Region observes two minutes' silence

PUBLISHED: 11:42 11 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:10 06 July 2010

Communities across Norfolk and Suffolk joined the nation in falling silent on Armistice Day today.

Shop and office staff stopped their work and went on to the streets to observe the two minutes' silence at 11am and remember those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in conflicts.

Communities across Norfolk and Suffolk joined the nation in falling silent on Armistice Day today.

Shop and office staff stopped their work and went on to the streets to observe the two minutes' silence at 11am and remember those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in conflicts.

They joined war veterans and members of the public in towns and villages from Cromer to Thetford and King's Lynn to Great Yarmouth.

In Swaffham school children joined veterans, local dignitaries and more than 50 members of the public for a short service at the town's war memorial.

Traffic was stopped as the last post was sounded and the two minutes silence was observed.

Serena Smith, head girl at Sacred Heart School, laid a wreath at the memorial as the standards were raised again.

The centre of Dereham was hushed when the two minutes silence was observed at the town's war memorial.

Traffic came to a standstill as about 200 people gathered facing the memorial for the observation led by the Dereham and District Royal British Legion padre the Rev Jenny Taylor and Dereham team rector the Rev Sally Theakston.

The Rev Taylor said it was a particularly poignant and important time to remember those who have lost their lives in the two world wars and other international conflicts but also those who have been killed recently in action in Afghanistan.

Prayers were said for the safe keeping of those soldiers serving in Afghanistan. Prayers were also said for all those over the decades who have laid down their lives in order that people in this country can continue to live in peace.

“We also pray that we may become peacemakers ourselves and love one another as Jesus commanded us,” said the Rev Taylor.

Standards were lowered and the official Remembrance Day eulogy “They Shall Not Grown Old….” was read by Rowland Hall, president of the RBL Dereham and district branch.

Mr Hall said afterwards it had been an “excellent” ceremony and he was pleased with the turn-out of the public and the fact that police were in attendance so that traffic was stopped during the two minutes silence. Several shops had displayed notices saying they were closing for the period of the silence observation.

Students and staff from City College Norwich held a ceremony of remembrance and a two minute silence under the flag pole outside the college building.

It was conducted by college chaplain Clive Blackman and students from across the college have been working to help make the ceremony special.

A group of students from the school of technology made a plinth for a wreath and musicians from the School of Creative Arts played The Last Post.

The Union Jack flew from the flag pole on the main campus and traffic on and off campus was stopped while the service took place.

The wreath was laid by student Gurrjeet Landa, who is studying bricklaying at the college and wants to join the Royal Engineers at the end of his studies.

He is benefiting from extra funding for his studies from the Further Education Army Bursary Scheme. The scheme provides students with a bursary of up to £2,000 while studying a college course at Level 2 or above, half while at college and half on completion of army basic training after finishing their college course.

The ceremony was attended by Kerry Giles, from the Salvation Army, and Cpl Neil Hall and Major Mike Robinson from the Armed Forces Careers Office in Norwich.

More than 100 people gathered at Fakenham war memorial as the town fell silent to mark the 11th hour.

The crowd, including town councillors and Royal British Legion representatives, heard the customary bugle call of the Last Post while police stopped traffic from using the hushed Market Place.

Town mayor Mike Coates said: “The number of people here has grown every year. We are highly delighted by the turnout, and it's especially good to see young people from the school taking part.”

Fakenham RBL branch president, haulage company owner Jack Richards, said: “I was amazed at the support we had on Sunday and it was very heartening to see it again today - especially to see the number of people walking around and reading the messages on the wreaths.”

Children from English and German families who was fought each other across Europe 70 years ago joined together in thoughtful silence at a service of remembrance for the fallen.

Students from Friesenschule International in Leer, Germany, joined in the Remembrance Day service at Reepham High School along with British war veterans from the second world war.

It is the 11th year the two schools have joined together for the service, which is preceded by a visit to the first world war battle fields at Ypres

Shoppers stopped in the Market Place and town centre shops in Great Yarmouth to pay their respects to the nations war dead at 11am.

Hundreds of men, women, children and pets gathered around the memorial at Cromer church to pay their respects to the town's fallen heroes during one of north Norfolk's many services.

Filling the church yard and lining Church Street - which became car-free for just a few minutes - the crowd remembered not only the servicemen who lost their lives in the first and second world wars, but also the town's most recent victim.

Cpl Stephen Bolger, 30, was killed in the conflict in Afghanistan earlier this year.

Cromer officials are now looking into providing a new memorial at the parish church highlighting his name as well another local teenager who died in a friendly-fire tragedy in Kenya in the 1950s.

Schoolchildren from Overstrand performed an evocative drama about war in front of Royal British Legion members and residents from Cromer's Halsey House.

Written in memory of first world war veteran Harry Patch, Remember Me was first staged by Belfry primary school children earlier this year but was given an encore for Remembrance Day.

Members of the RBL from Northrepps, Cromer, Mundesley, Sheringham, Holt and Cromer women's section branches were part of the audience at Sheringham Little Theatre as the youngsters called for peace through the drama, written by drama teacher Mandy Seybold.

Veterans and local dignitaries gathered for the Remembrance service at Lowestoft War Memorial.

Mayor Malcolm Cherry joined the crowds at Royal Plain for the service, which was read by Rev Duncan McMann.

In Bungay there was a two-minute silence at the town's war memorial and in Halesworth a two-minute silence at a gathering at the Thoroughfare.

Children from Valley Primary School at Gentry Place in Norwich stood still and silent on the playground for two minutes at 11am.

Headteacher Chris Spinks said: “That's no mean feat for children aged 4 - 11!”

Veterans paraded through the centre of King's Lynn. They were joined by shoppers and office workers to observe the two-minute silence, as Lynn came to a standstill.

Elsewhere, the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, senior politicians and the heads of the armed

forces gathered for a moving ceremony at Westminster Abbey in London.

Former and serving military personnel joined members of the public in standing for the traditional two-minute silence to remember the sacrifice of those who have died for their country.

Today's service at the Abbey was held following the deaths this year of the final three veterans of the war living in Britain.

William Stone died in January, aged 108, followed in July by Henry Allingham, 113, and Harry Patch, 111.

The Very Rev Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster, opened the service by recalling the moment exactly 91 years ago when the guns fell silent in Europe.

The Archbishop of Canterbury described the First World War as a “huge collective bereavement.”

Dr Rowan Williams praised the achievement of the 1914/18 generation in repairing some of the “shattered idealism.”

*See Thursday's EDP for an in-depth interview with Lt Col Gus Fair, commanding officer of the Swanton Morley-based Light Dragoons, on his reflections on the regiment's gruelling tour of Afghanistan.


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