This year it feels particularly important that we mark our Remembrance week and ensure the traditions continue.
For many years Our late Queen was synonymous with our Remembrance traditions, leading the country’s services by laying a wreath at the cenotaph in London. She in many ways embodied the connection to the wartime generation and summed up much of that spirit.
In this, the first Remembrance weekend without her, we must redouble our efforts to continue the Remembrance rituals that remind us of the sacrifices made by many of our past citizens for our freedoms today. As a former soldier myself of the Queen’s Regiment of the British Army, I will certainly feel her loss this Sunday, as will my fellow veterans.
We can do our bit by attending one of the Civic Remembrance services being held across Brighton & Hove, to support our local veterans who will be there and for whom the day means a great deal.
The weekend’s service start on Saturday, when the All Saints Church in Hove will be holding a Festival of Remembrance event from 7pm. The evening features Brighton Voices Community Choir conducted by David Stevens, with music from Karl Jenkins' The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace, alongside poetry and readings. Tickets for the festival are £5 and available on the door with proceeds go to support All Saints' community projects and the Royal British Legion.
On Remembrance Sunday itself, the 13th of November, there are many civic services that are taking place throughout the course of the day.
- In Brighton, the early service takes place at Regency Square commencing at 9am, which is the service for the Royal Sussex Regimental Association. Then at 10.30am there is the traditional Parade and Service at the Brighton Old Steine War memorial, followed by wreath laying.
- In Hove, there are two events on Remembrance Sunday: Commencing at 11am, two short wreath laying ceremonies are being held in Hove Cemetery, Old Shoreham Road - the first at the North Gate Memorial, followed by another at the South Gate Memorial. Then at 2.30pm, there will be ceremony at the War Memorial on Grand Avenue, involving a short service and official wreath laying, followed by a March Past, Salute, Parade to All Saints Church and Civic Memorial Service.
- In Portslade, there will be a wreath laying ceremony at Easthill Park Memorial, Manor Road at 11am.
- In the north of the City there is a service at the Patcham War Memorial at All Saints Church from 10am.
- In the east in Rottingdean, the traditional parade and service at 11.30am; the parade will depart from the lower High Street and make its way to The Green for a remembrance service at 12 noon.
- In my own ward of Woodingdean there will be an 11.00 am service at the Woodingdean Community Centre led by the Reverand Helen Rose, who will be conducting the service. I certainly look forward to seeing as many locals as possible on the day with my ward colleague Cllr Dee Simson.
The full list of Remembrance Week Services in Brighton & Hove is available here.
The breadth of Brighton & Hove’s services shows the significant number of important war memorials in the city that we must look after. The number of names on these memorials is striking and shows the deep history of service here. At the Old Steine War Memorial alone, the towers are inscribed with the names of the 2,597 men and 3 women of Brighton who fell in the First World War. It is a sobering sight indeed.
Simple participation at Sunday’s Remembrance service will keep the well-known rituals alive and with us: The readings of thee exhortation and the Kohima epitaph, the playing of the last post and the reveille and of course the two minutes of reflective silence; traditions that pass from generation to generation.
In 2022 the Royal British Legion is focusing remembering and commemorating ‘service’. Service, the act of defending and protecting the nation’s democratic freedoms and way of life, is rarely without cost for those who serve. Physical, mental or emotional injury or trauma; the absence of time with family; or the pressures and dangers that come from serving, highlight why the Remembrance of service is so important.
This year the concept of Service is being explored through a variety of anniversaries and events including the 40th anniversary of the Falklands Conflict and the 78th anniversary of D-Day, as well as Commonwealth Day, South Asian Heritage Month and Black History Month. The Chattri memorial to Indian soldiers that passed through Brighton during the First World War, reminds us of the importance of these themes.
Let us look after our veterans and traditions by attending a local Remembrance Sunday service tomorrow.