Armistice100: Hundreds attend multi-faith ceremony at Ilford War Memorial on centenary of the end of First World War

Deputy Lieutenant Thomas Chan lays a wreath at Ilford Memorial on Sunday, November 11 2018. Photo: A

Deputy Lieutenant Thomas Chan lays a wreath at Ilford Memorial on Sunday, November 11 2018. Photo: Aaron Walawalkar - Credit: Archant

Hundreds from the borough’s diverse faith communities gathered in Newbury Park to pay their respects to those from Ilford who gave their lives during the First World War and commemorate a century since Armistice Day.

Attendees packed out the Ilford War Memorial park, in Eastern Avenue, this morning, (Sunday, November 11), with dozens lining up outside the entrance gates to pay their respects.

Blue skies and beaming sunshine replaced rain clouds as a parade led by the Ilford 4F Squadron RAF Air Cadets marched into the park, opening the remembrance ceremony.

Joined by local scout groups, the cadets stood in formation around the memorial with their flags held aloft.

Deputy Lieutenant Thomas Chan lays a wreath at Ilford Memorial on Sunday, November 11 2018. Photo: A

Deputy Lieutenant Thomas Chan lays a wreath at Ilford Memorial on Sunday, November 11 2018. Photo: Aaron Walawalkar - Credit: Archant

“What a beautiful day it was today,” said council leader Jas Athwal, speaking after the service, which he described as “very moving”.

“I am pleased that, one hundred years on, we still remember and honour the sacrifice that thousands of men and women made.”

Opposition leader Cllr Linda Huggett spoke highly of the turnout.

Deputy Lieutenant Thomas Chan lays a wreath at Ilford Memorial on Sunday, November 11 2018. Photo: A

Deputy Lieutenant Thomas Chan lays a wreath at Ilford Memorial on Sunday, November 11 2018. Photo: Aaron Walawalkar - Credit: Archant

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She said: “They gave their today for our tomorrow and that is why it is so good to see so many children here, especially.”

“We have to educate children in order to prevent a future world war happening.”

The service was led by Rev Chris Morgan with prayers delivered by Rabbi Aryeh Sufrin, Imam Kurram Rafiq, Mankamal Singh, Mukesh Sharma and Rev Kate Lovesey.

Deputy Lieutenant Thomas Chan lays a wreath at Ilford Memorial on Sunday, November 11 2018. Photo: A

Deputy Lieutenant Thomas Chan lays a wreath at Ilford Memorial on Sunday, November 11 2018. Photo: Aaron Walawalkar - Credit: Archant

Exhortations were made by Mayor Cllr Debbie Kaur-Thiara and Deputy Lieutenant Thomas Chan.

“It was raining when we started and look at it now,” Rabbi Sufrin told the Recorder.

“That shows you have got to have faith.”

Deputy Lieutenant Thomas Chan lays a wreath at Ilford Memorial on Sunday, November 11 2018. Photo: A

Deputy Lieutenant Thomas Chan lays a wreath at Ilford Memorial on Sunday, November 11 2018. Photo: Aaron Walawalkar - Credit: Archant

Mankamal Singh, co-founder of the Atam Academy in Chadwell Heath, was pleased with the diverse “cultural assembly of residents” in attendance.

He said: “Awareness is growing of the contribution of people from other faith backgrounds during the First and Second World War.”

Following the sounding of the Last Post, the crowd observed a two-minute silence.

Deputy Lieutenant Thomas Chan lays a wreath at Ilford Memorial on Sunday, November 11 2018. Photo: A

Deputy Lieutenant Thomas Chan lays a wreath at Ilford Memorial on Sunday, November 11 2018. Photo: Aaron Walawalkar - Credit: Archant

Among the numerous groups to lay wreaths upon the memorial were councillors, MPs, faith leaders, police, firefighters and veterans.

At the close of the ceremony, cadet squadrons and scouts groups led a parade away from the memorial park down Eastern Avenue.

Attendees were also invited to visit the Ilford Memorial Hall, where the names of the 1,159 Ilford men killed in the First World War are inscribed on its walls.

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