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Marines remembered at wreath-laying and concert

Thousands of people stood in silence on Walmer Green on Sunday to remember the 11 Royal Marines killed by the IRA in Deal.

The names of the men were read out at the Deal Memorial Bandstand, built in memory of the servicemen who died in the explosion at the School of Music in September, 1989.

Vicar of Walmer the Rev Seth Cooper slowly listed the 11 and led the prayers, talking about the importance of the reconciliation of nations.

Wreaths were laid at the bandstand and tears were shed during the performance of Elgar’s Nimrod by the Band of the Royal Marines, Portsmouth.

Despite the sadness, the band’s director of music Maj Nick Grace lifted the spirits of the crowd when he pledged to continue the promise made by the Royal Marines when the School of Music closed in 1989.

He said: "I will ensure we will be continue to come to Deal each year to the bandstand."

The comment prompted a huge cheer from the crowd, estimated at between 6,500 and 7,000.

Sunshine and blue skies guaranteed a huge turnout for the annual concert and Maj Grace, on his first visit as conductor, told the audience they had been fantastic.

Traditional marches and music from shows and blockbuster films were packed into the performance and there were solos from a variety of Royal Marine musicians.

At the end of the concert A Life on the Ocean Wave brought the audience to its feet and there were two encores.

The afternoon ended in a party atmosphere, as people waved their programmes in the air and sang Land of Hope and Glory.

Deputy Mayor of Deal Cllr Tracy Wilton said: "I am very proud to have the Royal Marines here again.

"They have a long tradition with the town and it has been an excellent day for Deal."

For more pictures, see this week's East Kent Mercury

Get ready for foot-tapping concert

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