On November 11, 1918, the Melton Times reported, two days later, there were scenes of ‘unbounded joy and enthusiasm’ in Melton Mowbray.
News had just come through that the First World War, which had claimed the lives of hundreds of servicemen across the borough, had finally ended.
The guns had fallen silent and families were coming to terms with their losses, some devastated by the death in action of more than one son or brother.
The signing of The Armistice, however, was a moment to celebrate, as our newspaper recorded 100 years ago this week.
“The information came through private channels shortly after ten o’clock and it was received with some degree of hesitation until official confirmation arrived,” said the report.
“Then within an hour the town was gaily ablaze with colour, flags and bunting making their appearance as if by magic.”
There will be a similarly colourful display in Melton town centre on Sunday with the annual Remembrance Sunday parade, which this year will be followed by a special evening service of commemoration and the lighting of a beacon in Play Close, part of a national effort to mark the centenary of the end of the Great War.
This year, for the first time, there are 200 poppies attached to lamp posts with the names of Melton’s fallen enscribed on them as a special tribute to the sacrifice they made.
Sunday’s parade will form in the Chapel Street car park at 10am before marching off at 10.20am and making their way through the town to St Mary’s Church, where a service of remembrance will begin at 10.50am.
Veterans and current service personnel will take part in the parade, along with members and standard bearers from the Melton branch of the Royal British Legion and Keswick House ladies’ club.
There will also be dozens of young people from the town Scouts, cubs, beavers and the air cadets from the 1279 (Melton Mowbray) ATC squadron.
After the church service, the parade will head to the Memorial Gardens, on Wilton Road, for the laying of wreaths by members of the armed forces, veterans and dignataries including Mayor of Melton, Councillor Pru Chandler, and the playing of the Last Post.
The parade will re-form before being dismissed in the town centre.
The evening commemorative events are part of a national campaign to remember the fallen, called Battle’s Over.
The Mayor and other civic dignataries will arrive at St Mary’s Church for a performance, at 5.30pm, of ‘The Armed Man - A Mass for Peace’, and singing from St Mary’s Choir amd Melton Choral Society.
Everyone will then make their way to Play Close park, where a short service of commmemoration wil be led by Melton team rector, the Rev Kevin Ashby, at 6.15pm.
This will be followed by the names of all Melton servicemen killed in action being read out before the Mayor reads the ‘Tribute to the Millions’ and Phil Hardy plays the Last Post.
At 7pm, in synchrony with hundreds of other communities across the UK, a beacon will be lit, and the bells of St Mary’s will ring out to signify peace being declared 100 years ago.
There will be also activities to commemorate this special year of remembrance the day before, on Saturday, with the Melton Band and the town choral society performing music in Market Place, from noon to 3pm, and a number of First World War displays set up for the public to view.
A hog roast will also be operating to serve hot food and local legion members will be selling poppies from a stall.
**** A day of Remembrance events at Bottesford will begin at 6am with Pipe Major Billy James playing a dawn lament, followed by a procession from Bottesford Old School to Bottesford Village Green.
Muffled bells will be sounded at 10am followed by a service at the village’s St Mary’s Church 30 minutes later.
Members of the guides, brownies, rainbows, scouts, cubs and beavers will ring the recently-refurbished Old School Bell at noon, recreating what young people did 100 years before to mark the Armistice and the declaration of peace.
There will be a lantern peace procession through the village from 6.10pm followed by a lighting of a beacon at 7pm.
KEY MELTON EVENTS FOR REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY 2018
10.20am parade starts out from Chapel Street car park;
10.50am service at St Mary’s Church;
12noon wreath-laying in Memorial Gardens;
6.15pm short service in Play Close park;
6.25pm reading of the names of the fallen;
7pm lighting of the beacon.