Record number of Keighley people pay respects to war dead

Pipers play at the war memorial

Pipers play at the war memorial

First published in Keighley by

A record crowd turned out in Keighley on Sunday to honour those who have fallen during past conflicts.

Town Hall Square was packed with people for the annual Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the war memorial.

Earlier about 750 people had squeezed into Keighley Shared Church for the Remembrance service.

Tommy Thompson, Poppy Appeal organiser in Keighley, said: “It was a fantastic turnout, the biggest we have had, and certainly the biggest I’ve seen.

“In terms of the Poppy Appeal we are on course to beat last year’s total.”

The Rev Peter Mott, priest-in-charge of the Shared Church, said about 350 people were able to sit in the church but everyone else had to stand. He said the service was relayed outside to Church Green on loudspeakers, but he believed everyone had managed to squeeze inside.

The day’s commemoration began with a short parade along North Street to the Shared Church.

Taking part in the march were veterans, serving soldiers, cadet forces, other uniformed groups and local Home Guard members.

Methodist minister Sandie Exley-Watts led the service and the Rev Mott preached the sermon.

The sermon’s theme was that peace only came through justice, with the rule of law helping to avoid war.

The Rev Mott cited examples such as the unjust deal for Germany at the end of the First World War helping provoke the rise of Hitler. He said that efforts after the Second World War had helped keep the peace in Europe.

The Rev Mott said most of the UK’s troops were engaged in peacekeeping around the world, and this must be backed up by political and economic measures to cement peace.

After the service the parade returned along North Street and assembled with dignitaries in Town Hall Square.

Traffic was diverted away from North Street and Cavendish Street so the sound of vehicles did not disrupt the 11am vigil.

Members of Keighley’s cadet forces stood guard on the four corners of the war memorial throughout the ceremony.

Dignitaries, representatives of many local groups and other individuals climbed the memorial steps to lay wreaths.

Keighley town mayor Coun George Metcalf along with town councillors and council staff afterwards thanked everyone who had supported this year’s event.

They paid special tribute to Deputy Lord Lieutenant Richard Jackson and his wife, Elaine, and Tommy Thompson.

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