Sometimes television can be very good at telling the very human stories of family life, both the joys and the sorrows. The Royal British Legion Festival of remembrance is one of the most poignant annual programmes in capturing stories of the selfless sacrifice of members of the Armed Forces and the impact on the families that are left. Some of the stories are so deeply painful and yet I am always struck by the quiet dignity and courage shown by all who are impacted.
I recently met a lady who wore her birthday 100 badge alongside a brooch of a Lancaster bomber. In the short conversation she told me several times how thankful she was for the blessings she had experienced in her life. I asked her about her brooch. She proudly told me that her brother was a rear gunner in a Lancaster bomber during the Second World War and had been one of the fortunate survivors. It reminded me of another Lancaster rear gunner who I knew well, someone who never fully recovered from the horrors he witnessed. The sacrificial tenderness and care shown by his wife when the pain overwhelmed him was an example of the support so many families give to both serving service personnel and veterans.
The ongoing cost to families has been brought closer to home recently; my son has just returned from serving with the army in Afghanistan. During his seven month tour of duty, his wife-our daughter-in-law, gave birth to their second child; not the easiest situation for the family. Up and down the country there are many armed forces families like this, separated for lengthy periods due to service commitments.
So we remember again this year those who made the ultimate sacrifice, and their loved ones who continue to carry the pain of loss. But we are also thankful to all our armed services personnel and their families for the costs they very often bear as part of their role in endeavouring to make the world a safer place.
We look forward again to welcoming all ages to the annual British Legion service of remembrance on Sunday, November 10 at 2:30 PM at St Nicholas Church.
And on a much lighter note, as the Christmas season begins, we would love to also welcome you to the Saltmine production of “Hark” on Sunday, December 1st 3pm.