Hundreds take to streets for fallen

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Hundreds of people lined the streets of Ripley and Heanor to pay their respects to the brave soldiers who have died fighting for their country.

In Ripley the town’s branch of the Royal British Legion led a parade from the Co-op on Derby Road, to All Saints’ Church flanked by bikers from the Derbyshire’s Riders’ branch.

Dignitaries including the Mayor of Amber Valley Cllr Angela Ward, Ripley Mayor Cllr Alwyn Bridge and Amber Valley MP Nigel Mills, took part in a moving wreath-laying ceremony at the war memorial outside the town-centre church.

Ex-servicemen including World War Two veteran George Eyre also paid respect to fallen comrades at the town’s cenotaph.

George, of Stirland Street, now 90 and former Ripley & Heanor News photographer, was just 19 when he served as a wireless telegraphist on the HMS Duke of York as part of the Arctic convoys to Russia. They were dubbed by many who sailed in them as a ‘suicide mission‘ as so many sailors lost their lives.

Chairman of the Ripley branch of the Royal British Legion, Dean Fowler, praised the hundreds of Ripley folk who attended to pay their respects on Sunday, including observing a two-minute silence at 11am.

He said:“It was an absolutely fantastic turn-out – probably one of the biggest ones we’ve ever had.

“It is probably one of the best attended Remembrance events in the country. I thinkk the reason is because the Ripley British Legion is very proactive.

“We spend a lot of time engaging with the public and going into schools, teaching them the importance of the occasion.”

Ripley Mayor Cllr Bridge also thanked people for turning out in force and Rev Jason Kennedy for a touching sermon at All Saints’ Church.

He said: “The ceremony was really very good.

“The crowds seem to be getting bigger and bigger in Ripley, and I think it’s because the youngsters are being better educated about the wars and the conflicts around the world at at the moment.”

This year Ripley Town Council had applied for a licence to close Church Street to allow the parade to take place smoothly.

Leader of the council Cllr Steve Freeborn said: “It allowed the service to go by with tremendous dignity - there were some really poignant moments in a very moving ceremony.”

On Armistice Day, on Monday, November 11, more than 200 pupils from Ripley schools attended a special ceremony including the traditional two minute’s silence at 11am, heralded by the Maroon at Crossley Park.

After the silence, pupilsfrom St John’s School in the town preformed a special song they had written for the occasion.

In Heanor, another well attended ceremony on Sunday saw dignitaries march from the Market Place to Heanor Memorial Park to lay wreaths at the World War Two and Falklands memorials, before returning to St Lawrence’s Church to take part in a service of Remembrance led by lay reader Maurice Greasley.

Leader of Heanor Town Council Cllr Paul Jones said: “It was a really nice feeling to see the community coming together. “There must have been between 70 and 80 people attend the ceremony at the church. There’s no doubt the Heanor service has increased dramtically over the last five years.”

In Alfreton there was a parade from Alfreton House to the war memorial in King Street, followed by a parade to St Martin’s Church for a service of Remembrance.

The service at Kilburn Baptist Church followed a parade through the village, with Browines, Cubs, Beavers, Scouts and Rainbows taking part.

And St Andrew Church in Langley Mill saw a good turn out, with a Remembrance Service led by Rev Dan Pattimore.