Thousands pay respects at amazing We Will Remember tribute

The community of Tamworth united for an extra special Remembrance Day event, marking 100 years since the end of World War One.

Thousands of people came into Tamworth town centre on Sunday, November 11 to pay their respects; lining the streets to support an extended parade and gathering in the Castle Grounds as choirs sang and poppy confetti was fired into the air.

We Will Remember was organised by Tamworth Borough Council’s Arts & Events team to round off four years of special events in honour of the World War One years.

This year’s tribute included an extended parade made up of hundreds of marchers including the Coventry Jaguar Band, Standard Bearers, former service men and women, DMS Whittington, Sea Cadets, Army Cadets, Air Training Corps, Police, Fire Service, St John Ambulance, Scouts, Cubs, Guides, Brownies and the Boys Brigade.

After parading through the town, the large group made their way to St Editha’s Church for the two minutes’ silence, wreath laying and a service led by Vicar of Tamworth, Rev Alan Gordon.

Following the service, the parade then continued on its march through the town centre to cheers and applause from the crowds of people lining the streets.

In an extra special addition to the event for this year, the parade then marched into the Castle Grounds to assemble on the lower lawn in front of the amazing poppy cascade on Tamworth Castle. The cascade of more than 4,000 poppies is the result of hard work by people of all ages across Tamworth, individually painting plastic poppies to make up the stunning tribute.

The assembled crowd was greeted by the Mercian Singers, Tamworth Voices and Tamworth Ladies Choir singing Land of Hope and Glory, as poppy confetti was launched into the air in a truly emotional moment.

This was followed by a thought-provoking and emotional address from ex Royal Marine Commando, Tony Goodwin. Tony served in the Royal Marine Commandos for 11 years before being medically discharged following injuries he sustained in the Falklands War.

The poppy cascade and the Remembrance event has attracted widespread attention, with comments and interaction from thousands of people on social media, as well as being featured as part of a special Midlands Today Remembrance film.

Marj Tomlinson said: “Very proud day for our town and I can just imagine the joy that the news of the armistice brought to the town.” Neil Fortnum said: “This is a really nice gesture of remembrance, just as nice as the one at the Tower of London. We will remember them.” Roselynne Evans said: “Amazing display and well done to everyone who helped make and paint them. A really lovely tribute to those we remember today.”

Philip Hope said: “I have been a faithful chorister here and now in my 46th year as a chorister. I have never seen St Editha’s Close or St Editha’s Square, let alone the church, so full!”

The poppy project brought people from across the town together to make poppies out of used plastic bottles in a joint initiative between Tamworth Borough Council’s Arts & Events team, Tamworth Castle and Tamworth Ladymeadow WI.

Contributors have included Guides, Brownies, pupils from Flax Hill Junior School, Birds Bush Primary School and Two Rivers High School, Tamworth Community Together CIC, Bright Crescent sheltered housing residents, Tamworth Wellbeing and Cancer Support Centre, the George Bryan Centre and people of all ages across the town who took up the challenge of making poppies at home. Oceans of Tamworth fish bar in Belgrave helped by acting as a collection point and offering a free cone of chips to people in exchange for their completed poppies. Ankerside Shopping Centre supported the project by providing the WI with a base of operations and poppy drop-off point in one of the centre’s units, while B&Q and Roosters helped by supplying equipment.

Members of the WI group also poppyfied other parts of Tamworth including St Editha’s Square and the Castle Grounds Bandstand in a colourful town centre tribute.

Weather permitting, the intention is for the cascade to remain in place for the next week to give as many people as possible the opportunity to see it in all its glory. It will then be taken down and kept for future display and use in events.

Cllr John Chesworth, Cabinet member for Culture and Operational Services, also marched in the parade as part of his involvement with Tamworth and District Scouts. He said: “What an amazing and overwhelming day that was. The Tamworth community really united together in such a special tribute to those who have bravely fought for their country. It was amazing to see so many people marching in the parade, and particularly the amount of young people involved in the various Cadet, Guide, Scout and community groups.

“It was also great to see so many thousands of people out in the town to support the parade and pay their respects to the fallen. We think there were probably around 7,000 people in attendance. The songs, last post, poppy cascade and poppy confetti in the Castle Grounds was really beautiful and poignant and certainly brought a tear to many eyes.

“I left that event feeling very proud of Tamworth and all those who came together to organise We Will Remember. On another note, to have that many people attending an event in Tamworth just one week after the hugely successful fireworks display and two weeks ahead of our annual Christmas Lights switch on, is great for the town centre. These free events are all organised by the Tamworth Borough Council’s Arts & Events team and are succeeding in bringing thousands of people into the town to see what we have to offer.”

The Christmas Lights Switch On event takes place on Sunday, November 25, with a jam-packed afternoon of festive fun for the whole family. For more information please visit www.tamworthartsandevents.co.uk/whats-on, where you can also sign up to receive all the latest news and offers.