Shropshire Star

Town's young people praised for vital role in service commemorating D-Day anniversary

A town's young people have been praised for their key role in commemorating the 80th anniversary of D-Day this week.

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An armada of small ships laid out in front of Ellesmere War Memorial by localprimary schoolchildren.

Pupils from Ellesmere's primary school and secondary school students from Lakelands Academy played an important part in a special service at St Mary’s parish church.

The service on Thursday was to mark the Allied invasion of Northern France on June 6, l944, the operation that changed the course of the Second World War and led to the defeat of Nazi Germany.

The youngsters read poems and gave descriptive, personalised accounts of what it might have been like to be part of the invasion force that stormed the Normandy beaches to begin the liberation of France after four years of enemy occupation.

They also provided colourful material for displays inside and outside the church including an armada of warship replicas planted close to the town’s war memorial to represent the huge fleet of nearly 7,000 vessels that were involved in D-Day as part of Operation Overlord.

Local Cubs and Scouts also produced replica ships and lined up in front of the war memorial for a wreath-laying ceremony led by Diana Flint, a Deputy Lieutenant of Shropshire, the Mayor of Ellesmere Councillor Graham Hutchinson and the president of the local branch of the Royal British Legion, Ian Williams.

A bugler from the Porthywaen Silver Band sounded the Last Post and then joined other band members inside the church to provide music during the service, which was led by the Vicar of Ellesmere, the Rev Pat Hawkins.

It also featured readings by Legion officials and Ellesmere’s Deputy Mayor, Councillor Liz Woodbridge.

Legion branch chairman Bob McBride said he was delighted with the large turn-out for the event, which was organised by the branch in partnership with the church and Ellesmere Town Council.

“I’d like to thank everyone who helped to make this commemoration so special,” he said. “It was heartening that so many people came along to remember and give thanks to all those involved in D-Day, especially the thousands who sacrificed their lives to help secure the freedoms we enjoy today.

“ It was especially poignant that so many of Ellesmere’s young people contributed to this remembrance event in various ways, and to discover how much they have been learning about D-Day and its significance in achieving the Allies’ victory in the Second World War. I hope our community will feel very proud of the children’s efforts and be reassured that these youngsters will carry the message of remembrance forward to future generations.”

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