East Grinstead commemorated the 100 year anniversary of the end of the first world war with beacon lightings, poppies, parades, services and thousands turning out to be part of it.
The day started at East Court where the Town Mayor lit the beacon at 9.45 before the well-attended first short act of remembrance at the East Court war memorial.
Then at 10.40 the parade left King St and marched to the High Street to roads thronged by residents, young and old to pay their respects. The church choir joined them and along with the East Grinstead Concert Band music filled the streets. The two minute silence was relayed via the PA system from the Cenotaph in London and a big screen positioned outside of the Market Square showed a recording of the Town Mayor lighting the Beacon earlier. As the image of the beacon burning filled the screen, the names of the East Grinstead fallen (as etched on the war memorial) were scrolled through. A poignant reminder of the reason for the silence.
Hymns and prayers were joined in by the 1000 plus attendees, wreaths were laid and the public invited to do so also. Pictures of the towns commemorations over the past 4 years were shown on the screen, the National Anthem was sung and then the parade marched away from the High Street.
The Big Screen then showed some short documentaries about war as provided by Mike Rumsey.
The Town Mayor returned to East Court along with 150 others, including an honour guard provided by members of Sussex bonfire society at 7pm to light the beacon a second time. The last post sounded and exhortation given by John Grantham from the Royal British Legion, St Swithun’s Bells were rung and a reading as to the entombing of the unknown warrior.