RAF Cosford Museum leads Remembrance Sunday services across Shropshire

People gathered across Shropshire to honour the country's fallen heroes on Remembrance Sunday.

The Royal Air Force Museum Cosford's Service of Remembrance
The Royal Air Force Museum Cosford's Service of Remembrance

Services took place all over the county on Sunday morning to mark Remembrance Sunday with the laying of wreaths, a two minute silence and readings from community members.

At the RAF Cosford Museum, a total of 300 free tickets were snapped up by people who attended the museum's special Remembrance Service.

From servicemen and women, to the families of veterans and those who died in the war, to young people and civilians, hundreds turned out to the service inside the museum's hangar.

Ulrike Stuebner, RAF Cosford Museum's events manager, said it was wonderful to welcome the public back to services like the one on Sunday.

The Royal Air Force Museum Cosford's Service of Remembrance
The Cosford Military Wives Choir

Last year, the service had to be held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"It's really great to see people back and that people are happy to return to an event like this," Ulrike said. "We have limited capacity and have the door open and things spaced out to make sure we have safety precautions in place.

"We wanted to make sure guests were confident in coming. The uptake on tickets was fantastic, as was the feedback we have had from people just saying how lovely it is to return to the service.

"We have the Cosford Military Wives Choir performing and two Woden Primary School students reading a poem. For the first time we have someone playing the cornet – a volunteer, Mark Hill.

The Royal Air Force Museum Cosford's Service of Remembrance

"It's such a big day for people, it's nice to be here and we're so happy that it has happened again. There's such a nice atmosphere at the service - and what a unique space for it as well."

The Cosford Military Wives Choir performed a few songs throughout the ceremony, after not having been able to join in last year's service due to Covid restrictions on choirs.

People were suitably dressed up for the occasion, or wearing their uniforms and badges with pride.

Also in attendance were the family of veterans, as well as serving men and women and ex-service personnel. People young and old gathered together to hear prayers, sing hymns, listen to readings and mark a two-minutes silence at 11am.

The service was held against the backdrop of some of the country's most famous planes used in the historic wars. Staff and volunteers had been working hard for months to prepare for the day to enable people to gather together for the Remembrance service.

Mark Hill plays the cornet

Michelle Worthington, marketing manager, added: "We have been holding these Remembrance service events here for as long as I can remember and it's just wonderful to be back after holding the event virtually last year."

Maggie Appleton, CEO at the RAF Museum, said the day had been "very special", and even more so by the fact they can work with the nearby RAF Cosford team to put on a show.

"Having the museum here by the RAF base is so special," Maggie said. "Being next door to RAF Cosford, it means the story we tell at the museum is even more real.

"Being with members of RAF Cosford today and having them here feels more special this year due to last year being virtual. This year we have been able to work with our brilliant friends and neighbours.

"The opportunity we had to gather together in person was wonderful. The big open space here just serves the event well. Throughout everything in the past year we have wanted to keep everyone safe but make sure our welcome is always warm."

Maggie said the service was poignant and brought people closer together again.

Museum volunteers at The Royal Air Force Museum Cosford's Service of Remembrance
The Royal Air Force Museum Cosford's Service of Remembrance

"Hearing the Cosford Military Wives Choir singing was a very moving moment," she said. "It feels like a real family service for us at the museum thanks to all our staff and volunteers – it's great to see them all.

"And being here with our friends from Cosford, the volunteers, staff, and even the local school it has felt very special. The RAF Cosford team are such a great support to us so I'd like to say thank you to them.

"Being here and having the service at the museum, it just shows history is still alive and we're telling the story of today and yesterday."

Gill Hawkes, Cosford Military Wives Choir director, and Kellie Brown, choir leader, said they were thrilled to be back supporting the service.

During the coronavirus lockdowns, choirs were restricted by social distancing rules and having to practice in masks, or outdoors - so being able to once again perform in front of crowds at an event like this was an honour, said Gill.

Councillor Ian Nellins laying a wreath at Market Drayton's Remembrance Sunday Parade
Market Drayton's Remembrance Sunday Parade. McMachan from the Royal Irish Regiment playing the Lament

Kellie added: "The service is something we have supported for eight years – apart from last year when we couldn't join due to it being held virtually.

"But we love supporting them and we really enjoy it. We are a combination of military wives but also any women with a connection to the military. Our members' ages range from 20-70."

Meanwhile, in Market Drayton, hundreds gathered to watch a parade through the town and a service at the war memorial on Cheshire Street.

Market Drayton's Remembrance Sunday Parade
Market Drayton's Remembrance Sunday Parade

Councillor for Market Drayton, Ian Nellins, said it was a great turnout and more than 60 wreaths were laid for the fallen.

"It was good to see a lot of the youth organisations there as well as veterans and service people," he said. "As we hoped, there was representation from the three armed services – RAF, army and navy – as well as local veterans and there was a very large turn out around the cenotaph.

"I'm guessing there was around 60 wreaths laid there. It is a good display. Four planes did a fly-over after the act of Remembrance. It just makes it a bit more memorable for people, especially kids.

A flyover at Market Drayton's Remembrance Sunday Parade
Market Drayton's Remembrance Sunday Parade

"It's important the next generation can value these events.

"There was around 300 people in the parade and a great crowd, there must have been hundreds. I think it's important to have the act of Remembrance but also celebrate – there was a great turnout at the Royal British Legion after the ceremony as well."

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