Merton Remembers


Hundreds honoured our fallen heroes at one of London’s biggest Remembrance Days in Wimbledon on Sunday.


Rhian Hughes and David Churchill

Hundreds honoured our fallen heroes at one of London’s biggest Remembrance Days in Wimbledon on Sunday.
The driving rain failed to deter crowds from descending on Wimbledon War Memorial to pay tributes, remembering victims of the World Wars and those active in Afghanistan.
A procession of armed forces representatives and dignitaries marched down High Street to the memorial where wreaths, prayers and hymns were offered before the 11am silence.
The Rt. Honourable Sir John Wheeler, Deputy Lieutenant, who led the tributes, said: “These occasions mean a great deal to the families of people killed or injured.
“The fact that what their family members did will never be forgotten, is a great strength for them in their lives and makes them feel part of the community.”
He added: “The feelings surrounding this event are self-evident by the turn out. People from all parts of the borough, Morden, Mitcham and Wimbledon, all feel the same and it cuts across every kind of economic group of society.
“These are not just moments of glorification, they’re moments of reflection, remembrance and compassion.”
Reverend Mary Bide led prayers while Merton Concert Band and Wimbledon Choral Society provided backing to a heartfelt chorus of the National Anthem by all in attendance.
Wimbledon MP, Stephen Hammond, one of many wreath-layers, said: “Now we have soldiers serving in Afghanistan still, and having just come back from Iraq, it has meaning for all generations.
“The sacrifice some give so we can live in a free country should be celebrated and that’s what it means to me and the people of Wimbledon.”
The Royal British Legion’s Wimbledon Branch, who raised £35,500 for the borough’s ex-servicemen and women and their families last year, co-organised the event, hailing the record-breaking 46million poppies sold nationally.
John Livsconve of The Legion’s Wimbledon Branch said: “You’ve got to remember what’s happened in the past.
“If it wasn’t for what my father did, I wouldn’t be here now and nor would you. And to me, today is payback time.
“But we’ve still got conflicts going on now and there are still people getting injured and those and their families still need support.”
He added The Legion had high hopes to raise even more money this year than last, but criticised the government for its current level of support.
“If there was enough support from the government we wouldn’t be raising £30million pounds nationally to support our servicemen,” he said.

The British Legion made the theme of this year’s Poppy Appeal the ‘Afghan generation’ of the armed forces and their families.

Mr Livsconve added the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have brought it to the forefront of people’s mind and conscience.

Poppies, symbolic of the blood shed, are sold in aid of war invalids and their dependants. They are chosen as a symbol of remembrance as they bloomed on French, Belgian and Italian fields during the fiercest battles of both world wars.
Wimbledon Mayor, Oonagh Moulton, said: “Today is very important, it’s probably the most important civic event.
“I really do feel quite passionately about the words ‘we will remember them’, which find resonance throughout the borough.”

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