Communities remember fallen

Hailsham WW1 commemoration SUS-140608-151619001
Hailsham WW1 commemoration SUS-140608-151619001

Eastbourne, Polegate, Hailsham and Seaford paid tribute to those who lost their lives fighting for the liberty of others as the 100th anniversary of the start of the World War I fell on Monday.

In Eastbourne, dignitaries attended a commemoration service at St Mary’s Church, Old Town, on Monday morning.

Later in the day, the Redoubt marked the day Britain entered the infamous conflict with an evening of events.

There was an introduction from heritage officer Jo Seaman, followed by a talk on the lead up to the First World War by Paddy Stevens, a performance by Simon Waterfield with The Life and Times of Harry Kay, and a prayer by Tom Mendel.

Sir Edward Grey’s speech was read out before the lights went out, coinciding with national event: Lights Out. In addition, visitors joined the Sea Cadet Corps, Royal Marine Corps, Army Cadet Force and the Air Cadet Force.

Seaford held its memorial service on Sunday, at St Leonard’s Church, led by the town’s mayor Councillor Mark Brown.

There were readings by Kevin Gordon, Kenneth Jupp chairman of Seaford Branch of the Royal British Legion, and Sue Fears interspersed the hymns.

The list of the fallen from Seaford was read by Dean Layen of the Scouts and Kevin Falconer with an ex cadet of the Seaford Army Cadet Force.

The service was led by the Rev’d Pauline Lucas with Rev’d Colin Rudge, with the church choir and organist.

Willingdon held a weekend of events, starting with a tea party organised by the village branch of the British Legion and the Willingdon Residents’ Association on August 2, in the Willingdon Memorial Hall.

First World War Songs were performed by the Downland Singers and friends, and poems read by Val Godwin, Secretary of The Willingdon Branch of the Royal British Legion and Fran Pritchett of Willingdon Residents’ Association.

Val Godwin read ‘In Flanders Fields’ by Doctor John McCrae and Fran read ‘We Shall keep the Faith’ by Moina Michael.

James Punchard, Chairman of 1st Willingdon Scouts, handed over a donation of £100 from the sale of Lest We Forget Memorial Badges which are raising funds for a Scouting Memorial at the National Arboretum.

A grand total of £500 was raised for the Poppy Appeal, Willingdon Branch of the RBL at the afternoon.

The following day a moving Service of Remembrance took place in St Mary the Virgin Church led by Father Kevin Agnew and Father Michael Maine.

Luke Martin played The Last Post and Ian White played the bagpipes as the congregation left the church for refreshments in the church hall.

In Polegate a service was held in St John’s Church on August 4, attended by the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, Mr Peter Field as well as members of armed services, Polegate councillors and residents.

The service was conducted by Hugh Lowries, Associate Minister with the sermon being given by Revd Chris Spinks.

Special mention was made of the men of Polegate who died and are named on a plaque in St John’s Church. A book has been written by the Nigel Speers of the First Polegate Scout Group giving the ancestry of each of the men.

The service was organised by the Royal British Legion and St John’s Church.

Hailsham’s commemoration event – a parade from the Charles Hunt Centre to the town’s War Memorial and service – was held on August 3.

Organisations taking part included the Royal British Legion, Royal Air Forces Association and Hailsham Town Council members, including the mayor Jo Bentley, who said she was ‘proud to be representing the people of Hailsham’.