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Congleton unites on Remembrance

Congleton people turned out in force for the town’s annual Remembrance Parade. Thousands lined Lawton Street and High Street to be part of the Cenotaph service to remember those past and present who sacrificed everything in service of our country.

Parade Marshall, Gary Dolman from the Congleton Branch of the Royal British Legion led the procession, which was supported by local community organisations, youth groups, veterans, emergency services, civic dignitaries, and members of the armed forces. The outdoor service was conducted by Rev. Ian Enticott, All Saints Congleton.

After the town fell silent at 11am, representatives including Congleton Town Mayor, Cllr Margaret Gartside and her Cadet Kati-Leigh Newson were called to lay a series of wreaths. Cllr Gartside said: “There was barely a space to spare with over 40 wreaths presented, the number keeps growing year on year. As the town continues to expand and develop, it is really important that the strong sense of community spirit continues to flourish. Days like this prove that it is alive and well in Congleton.”

The poignant words of the Kohima Epitaph were beautifully spoken by a volunteer scout: “When you go home, tell them of us and say for your tomorrow we gave our today.” The Last Post was played by Michael Whitehurst. The new look 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 join the Congleton crowds. The brigade has made the annual trip for Remembrance Sunday for many years apart from the last two, when they were unable to attend due to COVID-19 restrictions. The town mayor said: “It is really great to have them back with us today, the military members looked resplendent on march. For anyone who is unaware of the history connecting Congleton and the Prinses Irene Brigade, the unit was formed in Congleton in 1941 when young Dutch soldiers arrived in the town, having escaped from their homeland to take up the fight to liberate it.

The formation of the regiment led to a number of ‘royal visits’ to Congleton including one where Prince Bernhardt presented the regiment with its new colours on the Fairground area, which now forms part of Congleton Town Centre near the library.”

After the ceremony, the brigade enjoyed a visit to Congleton Museum followed by a traditional Sunday lunch hosted by Congleton Town Council in Bluey’s Bar.

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.

Congleton Town Hall was illuminated with Remembrance poppies. The display was lit from Wednesday 9 November until Monday 14 November. The town council would like to thank Lightech and Reeds Rains Estate Agents for helping to make this happen.