Huge crowds turn out to observe Remembrance Sunday parade through Melton

The scene in Memorial Gardens in Melton with huge crowds attending the outdoor Remembrance Sunday service EMN-171211-125949001
The scene in Memorial Gardens in Melton with huge crowds attending the outdoor Remembrance Sunday service EMN-171211-125949001
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Crowds lined the streets of Melton, six deep in places, to watch this morning’s annual Remembrance Sunday parade.

Serving members of the armed forces, veterans, youth organisations, representatives of the emergency services, dignitaries and members of the town branches of the Royal British Legion and RAFA were accompanied by Melton Band from Chapel Street through to Sage Cross Street and Market Place.

Large crowds watch the Remembrance Sunday parade move through Market Place in Melton this morning EMN-171211-125939001

Large crowds watch the Remembrance Sunday parade move through Market Place in Melton this morning EMN-171211-125939001

The party continued along Leicester Street before assembling in the Memorial Gardens at Egerton Lodge for the traditional Service of Remembrance, including the laying of wreaths, the sounding of the Last Post and a period of silence.

It was the first time the service had been held outside, with St Mary’s Church unavailable while the major renovation project is completed.

Melton team rector, the Rev Kevin Ashby, who took the service told the packed congregation at the start that he was pleased the weather was good, on a cold but sunny morning.

Readings were made by Mayor of Melton, Councillor Tejpal Bains, and Deputy Lieutenant of Leicestershire, Sir David Samworth, before the National Anthem was played.

The parade then formed again, in High Street, and was applauded by large crowds as they made their way through Market Place and Sherrard Street.

Volunteers took over marshaling duties this year after Leicestershire Police controversially withdrew its usual support with traffic management.

The Melton branch of the Royal British Legion consequently embarked on a fundraising campaign to raise the hundreds of pounds required to buy in expertise to close the roads so the parade could proceed safely.

Fifteen members of the public volunteered to marshal crowds on the day, including 74-year-old Ivan Thompson, who was stationed at the junction of Sherrard Street with Windsor Street.

He told the Melton Times: “I felt I had to do something when the legion asked people to help.

“I remember being a lad in the 1940s and my grandma used to sit and have a cry because my grandfather had been killed on The Somme in the First World War and she went to her grave not knowing where he was buried.

“My father-in-law was captured at the Battle of the Arnhem in the Second World War and my father was in the RAF.

“So I wanted to help with the parade for those people.”

Police officers and police community support officers did attend the event, patrolling the service and parade but not assisting with marshaling the crowds.

Mark Whitehead, who organised the Remembrance parade and service, said he was indebted to the help of volunteers and fundraisers.

He also thanked Melton Council legal services employee, David Ruddle, who had ‘gone the extra mile’ to help with legal documentation surrounding the traffic management for the parade.

RLS Event Support provided staff and four of their 4X4 vehicles to help with the road closure, he said, and Abstract Audio UK supplied the PA system for the outdoor service.

Mr Whitehead added: “A lot of positives have come from this period of organising the event. Local people and businesses have really pulled together to make sure this year’s parade has gone ahead.”

Look out for more photos of the parade and service on our website on Monday