Thousands gathered across the borough of Rochdale for Remembrance Day services to honour the nation’s war heroes and pay tribute to the fallen.
Representatives from the Navy, Army and Royal Air Force joined veterans and civic dignitaries for parades and services in Rochdale town centre, Heywood, Littleborough, Middleton, Norden, Milnrow and Wardle.
Residents gathered at memorials across the borough fell silent as the Last Post was played at the well-attended services. Each included Laurence Binyon’s 1914 poem For the Fallen: “They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old; Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn; at the going down of the sun and in the morning; we will remember them.”
The Armed Forces community, Members of Parliament, Council leader Councillor Neil Emmott, councillors, local schools and members of the public also laid their own wreathes and gave respects, following moving readings of The Kohima Epitaph: “When you go home, tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow, we gave our today.”
Services to mark Armistice Day last Friday (11 November) were also held at Rochdale Cenotaph and in other parts of the borough as people attended to show their respect for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Councillor Janet Emsley, cabinet member for the Armed Forces, said: “As always, it was a day when residents of all ages came together to pay their respects to those who lost their lives defending the values, liberty and freedom we cherish so much and, all too often, take for granted. The service was an opportunity to pause, reflect and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. We are so proud of the work of our Armed Forces community, past and present, and the day was about honouring the service and sacrifice of thousands of men and women from our borough. Lest we forget.”
Mayor of Rochdale, Councillor Ali Ahmed, said: “Remembrance Sunday is always a moving and reflective day, as we pay tribute to the fallen. Without the selfless dedication and sacrifices of our Armed Forces personnel, the values and liberty we values so much would have been lost. We never forget. We will remember them.”
The council signed an Armed Forces Community Covenant in 2012 which is aimed at encouraging communities to support services that promote and encourage activities that help integrate armed forces personnel back into civilian life. Current or former Armed Forces personnel can register for help or get more information by visiting www.rochdale.gov.uk/armedforces If they encounter difficulties when accessing services from the council or its partners email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the council on 01706 926989.
Every Thursday from 9am – 10am the council hosts a veterans’ breakfast club at Touchstones Rochdale, alongside the council’s armed forces partners. All ex-military and dependents are welcome.