THEY came in their thousands to Crompton War Memorial to mark Remembrance Sunday 2019.
There were babes in pushchairs, medal strewn veteran servicemen and women, current military personnel, politicians, the clergy, the police, community groups, school children, a motorcycle club, even a couple of poppy wearing dogs.
And at 11am after a call to remembrance by Father Graham Lindley, the town centre fell silent.
In line with the rest of the nation, locals honoured the service and sacrifice of the Armed Forces community, the British and Commonwealth veterans, the Allies and
the civilian servicemen and women involved in the two World Wars and later conflicts.
Allan Taylor played the Last Post and Reveille, event organiser, Phelyp Bennett gave the oration, an Army Cadet read the Kohima Epitaph and there were readings and prayers by Major Nigel Tansey MBE of the Salvation Army and Reverend Katy Cunliffe.
Delph Youth Band led the assembled masses in Abide with Me and the National Anthem while nearly 40 wreaths were laid at the foot of the memorial commemorating the men of Shaw and Crompton who died in World Wars One and Two. “It was an exceptional turn out,” said Mr Bennett, proudly wearing medals belonging to his parents. “I would say there was coming up to 2,000 people here.
“It is always an impressive turnout and this year the weather was kind to us.
“I am really grateful and pleased for everyone making it such a special day.
“I did remark to someone I could not remember selling all those wreaths but I must have done,” he smiled.
One of the most striking tributes was a fresh floral white wreath laid by Heyside Cricket Club.
And the annual remembrance service would not be complete without a visit from the bikers, some hairy but many hairless, from the Spartan Motorcycle Club.
Many thousands of horsepower were parked up outside Crompton Health Centre on Crompton Way as the group made its way to the memorial to pay their own tributes.
‘Sumo’ – chairman and founder – said: “We have been coming for about 10 years on and off. But since the club formed it is about five years now.
“It is the shortest run we do but it is the most important one. Many of us are local lads – I am from Royton – but we have members from all over Manchester to come and pay their respects with us.
For anyone interested in joining, Spartan MCC meets at the Railway and Linnet pub, Grimshaw Lane, Middleton.
“We are a bike club not a social group, so if you are interested in joining you need a bike and one that is capable of a maintaining motorway speeds,” ‘Sumo’ added.
There was a much slower procession to get Remembrance Sunday underway as Royal British Legion standard bearers gathered behind Delph Youth Band in Market Street to lead walkers to the war memorial.
And the British Legion on Newtown Street was the venue for final speeches and refreshments following the service.