After days of intense rain, it was really wonderful to walk to the Martyr Worthy memorial under a bright blue sky. The Royal British Legion Itchen Valley contingent was led by Admiral John Lang who took charge of the proceedings. We were fortunate to be joined by a contingent from TS Itchen Winchester Sea Cadet contingent led by OiC Sam Philips and Miss Sue Williams the Director of Music Princes Mead School sounding the Last Post and the Reveille. Only one RBL member wearing a bowler hat this year – George Stoney -immaculately dressed as always for the parade. Revd Alex Pease led the prayers. Wreathes were laid by Admiral Lang on behalf of the RBL, by the Sea Cadets and by Jessica Duke and Paddy Clarke on behalf of the village.
The parade was well attended by over 140 residents of the Valley who joined with the RBL in the ecumenical Remembrance Day Service at St Swithun’s Martyr Worthy. Admiral Mike Gretton read the lesson, Admiral John Lang the prayers and Revd Alex Pease preached. The Ark Sunday School led by Elizabeth Bouldin worked on two crosses which were laid on the altar at St Swithun’s Martyr Worthy.
Afterwards, in recognition of the commemoration of the centenary of the beginning of the First World War a Royal British Legion lunch was held at Martyr Worthy Village hall at which Admiral John Lang spoke.
In the evening a Requiem Mass was held at St Mary’s Easton to the Faure composition. This was an exceptionally beautiful service in candlelight led by Revd Rebecca Fardell and sung by the Itchen Valley Parish choir. One of the choir mentioned how wonderful it was to sing this marvellous piece in the context of Communion, which makes the words come alive. Tim Rogerson played the organ. Revd Rebecca Fardell preached.
As Tony Gaster said:‘Our musical director did what he is best at, bringing good choral music to an act of worship. In the 10 years I have been here there have been many attempts with a choir but now I feel we have a nucleus of something really good. If you know of other singers in our community who might join us, I feel sure they would be welcome’
A very moving day in the life of the Valley.
Revd Alex Pease
photographs courtesy of Sophie Jackson