It was an honour to join the hundreds of people who turned out across the Brentwood and Ongar constituency at the weekend to mark Remembrance Sunday, after a quieter ceremony last year due to the Covid-19 restrictions at the time.
I joined the parade through Brentwood with the Mayor of Brentwood, the Lord Lieutenant of Essex, the Essex Police Fire and Crime Commissioner, Brentwood Borough Councillors, and representatives of the Armed Forces, Military Cadets, Scouts, Essex Police, Police Cadets and Essex Fire and Rescue Service. As always, the parade was led magnificently by the Brentwood Imperial Youth Band.
The Chairman of the Brentwood Branch of the Royal British Legion led the Exhortation to the Fallen, and then silence fell across the crowd around the war memorial, so only the sound of birds singing in the trees could be heard at the usually busy road junction. It was a moving and memorable occasion.
I visited North Weald and Ongar too for their acts of Remembrance, and had time to remember the events I have attended in the past. Two years ago I was in Abridge, with John Filby - ‘Mr Abridge’ -who very sadly died in hospital last week after contracting Covid-19.
John was an absolutely irreplaceable part of the community. He had an extraordinary energy which tirelessly deployed for the communal good – the Abridge Supper Club, the Village Hall, fetes, fireworks, his wonderful relationship with Father Christmas - you name it, John was on it. He was the sort of person who makes this country great. I am terribly sad that we have lost him - but ever so grateful and proud that he was one of ours. I send my condolences to his lovely family and many friends – and we will all remember him with huge love and admiration.