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How Sheppey marked Remembrance Day 2021


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At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month people stopped what they were doing to mark two minutes silence for the dead of two world wars.

At Halfway cemetery on Sheppey the Rev Colin Johnson led a short service on Thursday at the cross of sacrifice attended by the mayor and mayoress of Swale Cllrs Paul and Sarah Stephen.

Bugler Sgt James Crane of the Sheppey Air Cadets at Halfway cemetery for the Remembrance Day service with the mayor and mayoress of Swale Cllrs Paul and Sarah Stephen
Bugler Sgt James Crane of the Sheppey Air Cadets at Halfway cemetery for the Remembrance Day service with the mayor and mayoress of Swale Cllrs Paul and Sarah Stephen

Sarah Stephen (Ind Alliance, Woodstock) said: "This was a special and tearful day. It always brings a lump to my throat as we remember the dead of two world wars.

"This year, many veterans have also been taken by Covid-19. We should never forget what sacrifices they made for us. It is our duty to pass this on to future generations."

Her husband Paul added: "Last year was very surreal because lockdown meant we weren't able to pay tribute as before. As we begin to come to terms with the pandemic, I hope this year will mark a new start."

They were flanked by Royal British Legion standard bearers Norman Williams and David Ingram.

As a crow called in a distant tree, Mike Sanger, 88, the vice-chairman of the Isle of Sheppey branch and who served with the Fleet Air Arm for 25 years, recited the exhortation:

Mike Sanger, vice-chairman of the Sheppey branch of the Royal British Legion
Mike Sanger, vice-chairman of the Sheppey branch of the Royal British Legion
The Cross of Sacrifice at Halfway cemetery
The Cross of Sacrifice at Halfway cemetery
Cllr Peter MacDonald and Malcolm Newell replanted the four flower beds around the war memorial in Halfway cemetery in readiness for the Remembrance Day service
Cllr Peter MacDonald and Malcolm Newell replanted the four flower beds around the war memorial in Halfway cemetery in readiness for the Remembrance Day service

"As they grow not old, as we are left to grow old. Age shall not weary them, not the years condemn.

"At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them."

The Last Post and Reveille were played by bugler Sgt James Crane of the Sheppey Air Cadets. Malcolm Newell, who chairs the Eastchurch Garden Society, and Cllr Peter MacDonald had previously re-planted four flower beds around the war memorial with geraniums and begonias.

After the service, the party moved to the Minster campus of Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey to plant crosses and a wreath around a special peace tree donated to the school by the Isle of Sheppey Rotary Club in 2018.

The school is one of only 10 Peacefield sites in the country and has reenacted the 1914 Christmas Day football match between British and Germany soldiers. Teacher Paul Murray said: "The hope is that by doing sport, the world becomes a more peaceful place."

Wreath-laying ceremony at the Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey peace tree on the Minster campus
Wreath-laying ceremony at the Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey peace tree on the Minster campus

Across the Island, primary schools also marked Armistice Day which brought to the end the war hailed at the time to be the war to end all wars.

Pupils at Halfway Houses ensured little wooden crosses were planted on the war graves at Halfway cemetery.

Sarah Stanier, administrator at The Island Learning Trust which runs the school, said: "Two years ago we were asked by the Poppy Appeal organiser for Sheerness, Halfway, Minster and Queenborough if we could help.

"She said it was becoming increasingly difficult for members of Isle of Sheppey Royal British Legion to complete the task themselves due to their ages.

"We feel this is a very rewarding and educationally relevant experience for our children. Our head boy, girl and their deputies, alongside our Ministers for Charity, assisted."

Imogen Perriman, 10, of Halfway Houses Primary School lays a poppy cross on a war grave at Halfway cemetery
Imogen Perriman, 10, of Halfway Houses Primary School lays a poppy cross on a war grave at Halfway cemetery
Pupils from Halfway Houses primary school ensured poppy crosses were planted on war graves at Halfway Cemetery in time for Remembrance Day
Pupils from Halfway Houses primary school ensured poppy crosses were planted on war graves at Halfway Cemetery in time for Remembrance Day
Pupils at Minster Primary School in Brecon Chase had their own cenotaph for their Remembrance Day wreath-laying. They all made poppies and fixed them to a fence in the playground
Pupils at Minster Primary School in Brecon Chase had their own cenotaph for their Remembrance Day wreath-laying. They all made poppies and fixed them to a fence in the playground
Pupils at Minster Primary School in Brecon Chase had their own cenotaph for their Remembrance Day wreath-laying. They all made poppies and fixed them to a fence in the playground
Pupils at Minster Primary School in Brecon Chase had their own cenotaph for their Remembrance Day wreath-laying. They all made poppies and fixed them to a fence in the playground

Minster Primary School in Brecon Chase created its own cenotaph and held a special assembly for Remembrance Day led by school ambassadors from Year 6.

Pupils laid wreaths, marked the two minutes silence and sang Fields of Poppies and A Wish for Peace. The poem The Inquisitive Mind of a Child was read by Rhianne Braine and Charlie Butler from Year 6. Lucas Hall read the exhortation.

Pupils also listened to wartime songs such as It’s A Long Way To Tipperary and Pack Up Your Troubles and learned about the history of Armistice Day and the symbolism of the poppy.

Each pupil made a poppy, along with a message of thanks, and attached them to the playground fence to create a sea of poppies.

School co-head Michelle Jeffery said: "It is very important staff and pupils recognise the work and sacrifices of our Armed Forces. The whole school did us proud as Minster remembered."

Pupils and their poppies on the front fence of Elliott Park independent primary school in Marina Drive, Minster, Sheppey
Pupils and their poppies on the front fence of Elliott Park independent primary school in Marina Drive, Minster, Sheppey

Children at Elliott Park independent primary school in Marina Drive, Minster, created an art installation to commemorate Remembrance Day by each making a poppy.

Year 4 teacher Vicki Crosby said: "These were displayed on the front fence of the school for the local community to see. The children were engrossed in their learning about Armistice Day.

"All joined together to observe a two minutes silence to reflect and show their respect for all our hero soldiers from the past as well as those still fighting for their country."

At the House of Commons Sittingbourne and Sheppey MP Gordon Henderson was one of the first to lay one of 650 wooden stakes in the new Constituency Garden of Remembrance in the shadow of Big Ben. It had been instigated by the Speaker of the House Sir Lindsay Hoyle.

Mr Henderson said: "I was proud and honoured to be one of the first MPs to plant a stake containing a message on behalf of my constituents in Sittingbourne and Sheppey."

Sittingbourne and Sheppey MP Gordon Henderson planted a poppy cross in the new Constituency Remembrance Garden at the House of Commons
Sittingbourne and Sheppey MP Gordon Henderson planted a poppy cross in the new Constituency Remembrance Garden at the House of Commons
Sittingbourne and Sheppey MP Gordon Henderson planted a poppy cross in the new Constituency Remembrance Garden at the House of Commons
Sittingbourne and Sheppey MP Gordon Henderson planted a poppy cross in the new Constituency Remembrance Garden at the House of Commons
Sittingbourne and Sheppey MP Gordon Henderson planted a poppy cross in the new Constituency Remembrance Garden at the House of Commons
Sittingbourne and Sheppey MP Gordon Henderson planted a poppy cross in the new Constituency Remembrance Garden at the House of Commons

Read more: All the latest from Sheppey

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