Saturday, August 2, 2014
Hundreds parade along the seafront to mark 100th anniversary of the Great War and the local men who lost their lives.
ILFRACOMBE turned out in force this afternoon (Saturday) with a commemoration parade to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One and the 166 men from the town who never returned home.
After a blessing of the new Ilfracombe standard emblazoned with the words ‘Ilfracombe says thank you’, a parade led by Town Crier Roy Goodwin made its way from the Pier to Runnymede Gardens.
The procession of more than 400 people included North Devon Pipes and Drums, veterans, Ilfracombe Sea Cadets, town councillors, local youth groups and 166 people bearing a memorial plaque to one of the fallen.
Some were relatives, others had signed up to the Adopt-a-Soldier scheme organised by Sue Garwood during the past months.
Bearing the Belgian flag was Saskia Van de Voorde, the great great niece of Belgian soldier Camille Kerckvoorde who is buried in the town after dying of his wounds following his evacuation from the front line.
More than 30 town criers from across the UK, as well as Australia and Belgium, also joined the parade.
As the procession passed St Philip and St James Church the bells tolled 166 times and people lined the route to watch as it made its way to the gardens.
There, in front of seated guests and a large crowd looking on, the criers each read out the names of the Ilfracombe Great War dead, whose plaques will be placed on a memorial wall in the gardens and will remain until Armistice Day on November 11.
Afterwards, Roy Godwin said it had been ‘a fantastic turn out’.
“I expected a good turn out by my goodness, I didn’t expect anything like this, it was a total community event,” he said.
“I thought the parade was phenomenal, I couldn’t believe the amount of people that were in it.
“”It was very emotional, because there were lots of people whose family had names read out and it was also lovely to hear the names from Australia as well as the two Belgian soldiers.”
* Tomorrow (Sunday) the town criers will gather back at Runnymede Gardens for a truly international town crier competition from 10.30am.