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Spalding and Holbeach Remembrance Sunday Parades see thousands taking part

Thousands turned out in towns and villages across South Holland for Remembrance Sunday parades and services.

Veterans, ex-service organisations, army personnel, representatives from the police and fire services, air and army cadets, scouts, guides, cubs, brownies, beavers and rainbows were among the many groups paying tribute to the fallen.

The chairman of South Holland District Council, Francis Biggadike, led the dignitaries who attended the morning tribute in Spalding and afternoon event in Holbeach.

In Spalding, the parade gathered in Market Place for the traditional march to Ayscoughfee Gardens, where the service was led by the Vicar of Spalding, the Rev John Bennett.

Mr Bennett said: "It was good to see so many people in Ayscoughfee Gardens for Remembrance Sunday.

"Unfortunately, there were a few problems with the sound system, but nothing could take away from the solemn dignity of the occasion.

"I was particularly moved by seeing those people who brought up their own wreaths and crosses to add to those laid more formally.

"The day began with rain and it was still overcast when the service started.

"As we sang the lines from Abide With Me, 'Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies', I noticed the clouds lifting and patches of blue appearing, as if responding to our hymn with a sign of hope."

There was a poignant feature in Ayscoughfee Gardens, where a military vehicle was shrouded in camouflage netting while the netting itself was decorated with red and blue poppies.

The special tribute was created by the ladies of St John the Baptist Church and Tanglewood Care Home.

John Spencer, chairman of Holbeach branch of The Royal British Legion, said the numbers taking part in the parade - and those watching - were on a par with last year, which was all the more remarkable because last year was the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One.

"It was an unbelievable turnout," he said. "Everybody did us proud - the people in the parade and the people lining the street."

On behalf of the Legion, Mr Spencer thanked everyone who either helped with or supported the parade.

He said: "It was really, really touching and the service that followed was as well."

The Holbeach parade marched from the community centre to All Saints' Churchyard and then wreaths were laid at the war memorial before the service took place in the church.

Holbeach St Marks was among the many villages staging Remembrance Sunday events. County Royal British Legion chairman Tony Goodwin was there to lay a wreath.

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