Old and young join to pay their respects

Remembrance Day ceremony at Blackpool cenotaph

Remembrance Day ceremony at Blackpool cenotaph

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THE last post rang out across the Fylde coast as thousands gathered to pay their respects.

At war memorials from St Annes to Blackpool and Kirkham to Fleetwood, residents young and old wore their poppies with pride as they remembered those lost in conflict.

Blackpool witnessed the area’s largest ceremony, as around 7,000 people lined the Promenade to take part in the moving service.

The traditional parade through the streets marked the start of Remembrance Sunday, as the 12th Regiment of the Royal Artillery led local diginitaries, servicemen and cadets to the war memorial.

And organiser Julian Mineur said he was “absolutely delighted” by the crowds which gathered to pay their respects.

Mr Mineur said: “It was fantastic. Blackpool’s ceremony has to be the second or third biggest in the country outside London.

“The town has always had this affinity with the armed forces and veterans and they showed that by turning out in their thousands to pay their respects to our fallen heroes.

“It was a very, very moving, well-oiled and rehearsed service of remembrance.”

Children from Claremont Primary School’s choir sang as the wreaths were laid and Mr Mineur added: “They performed two very moving pieces of music which shows how much schools and youth get involved.”

Down the coast, hundreds also gathered in Ashton Gardens, St Annes, for Fylde Council’s service of commemoration.

The procession was led by the Freckleton Premier band and saw local scout groups and cadets march through the streets, leading the way for Coun Howard Henshaw and Coun Karen Henshaw, Mayor and Mayoress of Fylde, and Mark Menzies, the local MP.

Albert Cooper, 75, chairman of the Royal British Legion St Annes branch, said: “I think it’s very important for people to come down here – it’s the most important day of the year to pay our respects.

“It’s absolutely fantastic down here, we had a service on Friday and that was very special. The war memorial here is as good as any in the country.”

And Spencer Leader, the branch president, added: “Every year it’s busy here, it’s wonderful to see so many people.

“The Poppy Appeal has gone very well this year as well. Last year we raised £29,000 in Lytham and St Annes and we hope to have increased that because it’s our 90th year.”

An identical service was held at Lytham’s war memorial, while residents also turned out to pay their respects in Fleetwood, Poulton, Preesall, Kirkham and Cleveleys.