Willingdon Parish Council led an enormous turn out today for their parade from Upper Kings Drive to the Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin. Today was the best to date with large contingents from the 1st and 2nd Willingdon Scout Groups, Willingdon Guide Group, St John Ambulance led by the Kingfisher Scout Band, Willingdon Branch of the Royal British Legion and Parish Councillors.
The parade participants were piped into church by Ian White. A very moving service was led by Father Kevin Agnew and Deacon Sue with the laying of wreaths, lighting of candles for every person lost during both the 1st and 2nd World War from Willingdon and a cross covered with red poppies for remembrance and white poppies for peace. A wonderful tribute by all who took part. It was standing room only in the church which had been beautifully decorated with poppy displays. The church bells rang at 12.30pm along with many other bells across the country with the bells ringing again at 7.05pm in the evening which could be heard from our Beacon on the Downs.
In the evening crowds gathered on the Downs above Willingdon for the lighting of our Beacon, prayers led by Father Kevin Agnew and Peter Davey playing the Last Post prior to the lighting of the Beacon. Willingdon and Jevington Parish Council have been a part of the National Chain of Beacons at every Commemorative event since the Millennium. We were blessed with a clear night and sensational views across Willingdon and Eastbourne. A truly final tribute to all those who gave their lives that we might enjoy the freedom we have today.
Parish Council Chairman John Pritchett BEM said “I would like to say a big thank you to all who took part in our commemorative parade, services and Beacon in any way today. It was a truly remarkable tribute to all those who gave their lives 100 years ago that we might live in the freedom we enjoy today”.
Cllr John Pritchett, BEM
Chair, Willingdon and Jevington Parish Council