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Congleton Unites in Remembrance

Crowds of proud onlookers lined Congleton’s streets as the Remembrance Parade marched through town to the Cenotaph for the annual service to honour those who sacrificed everything fighting for our country.

The parade was led by a horse and a poppy person under the supervision of Parade Marshall, Steven Evans from the Congleton Branch of the Royal British Legion. The marching band was provided by Alsager RAF Cadets. Scores of organisations, youth groups, veterans, emergency services, civic dignitaries, and members of the armed forces made up the impressive parade. The outdoor service at the Cenotaph was conducted by Rev. Ian Enticott, All Saints Congleton and Master of Ceremonies, Gary Dolman, from the Congleton Branch of the Royal British Legion.

After the town fell silent at 11am, representatives from almost 50 local groups were called upon for the act of laying wreaths. David Wootton, HM Deputy Lieutenant of Cheshire presented the first wreath followed by Fiona Bruce, MP for Congleton and Town Mayor, Cllr Rob Moreton.

Congleton Town Mayor, Cllr Rob Moreton said: “Once again, the people of Congleton turned out in force considering the terrible weather. Every year the event seems to get bigger and I can’t tell you how proud it makes me, as the Town Mayor, to feel the strength of support for Remembrance in Congleton. It was also touching to see representatives of our new Ukrainian community attend today’s service. It was great to see so many of Congleton’s youth organisations involved, young people are our future and we need them to keep remembering. It is really important that the strong sense of tradition continues to flourish. Days like this prove that custom and community spirit is still strong in our town.”

Before the parade arrived, children from Mossley C of E Primary School performed miliary songs at the Cenotaph. The Last Post was played by Michael Whitehurst. The bible reading was beautifully spoken by the town mayor’s cadet, Amelia Downing.  Amelia laid a wreath on behalf of the town’s youth population. The new Cenotaph includes the names of an additional 250 heroes who were not recognised on the 1923 cenotaph. 600 names are now remembered.

Representatives of the Prinses Irene Brigade travelled from the Netherlands to take part in the event. The brigade has made the annual trip for Remembrance Sunday for many years. The town mayor said: “I am delighted to welcome members of the regiment to Congleton again this year. We have a long and proud history with the brigade which was formed in Congleton in 1941,  when young Dutch soldiers were housed in the town. The soldiers had escaped from their occupied homeland to take up the fight to liberate it.”

Dignitaries and local groups were invited back to the Town Hall for refreshments alongside the Prinses Irene Brigade. The audience enjoyed listening to short speeches from the town mayor and the Brigade’s Commander followed by exchange of gifts. A special speech was made by nine year old Ukrainian girl, Kira, currently living in Congleton who passionately said: “We Will Remember Them.” After the presentations, the brigade enjoyed a traditional Sunday lunch and a tour of Beartown Brewery hosted by Congleton Town Council.

Congleton Town Council organised the parade and service in association with the Congleton Branch of the Royal British Legion. The Town Council funded the road closures, sound system, band and other expenses associated with the event.

A selection of photographs capturing the event taken by Ragdoll Photography.