AS MUCH of the nation sat in front of television screens to watch the live broadcast of a Service of Remembrance from Westminster Abbey on Sunday, Cheadle man Alan Wigley, experienced the historic event first-hand. Alan, 74, was invited to attend the special service to mark the centenary of the World War I Armistice which was attended by HM The Queen and the Royal family along with invited guests and screened on BBC1.
After hosting a successful Concert of Remembrance which raised £400 for SSAFA on Saturday night, Alan was up on Sunday morning and heading to London.
He said: “I’d planned some time to go to the Cenotaph and it was quite overwhelming.
“London was manic, there were people everywhere and the walk past the Cenotaph was still going on as I arrived and it was amazing to see all the different people marching past and the bands.
“The service itself was a different thing all together. I’ve been in different churches when they are open to the public, but to go to Westminster Abbey for a service like that one, in the presence of the Royal family – it was an honour and privilege to be there.”
On arriving at the Abbey, Alan received two special booklets and a lapel pin specially created for the occasion.
He added: “It was a once in a lifetime experience and it’s really something that’s a legacy I can hand down to my grandchildren.
“I suppose it creates a bit of closure for me as my father was in World War I.
“I wasn’t born until he was in his 50s and he never really talked about it. It’s strange to have had a parent in a war like that.
“We found out more about his service once he’d passed away and you realise you never really got to know him. He became a father at an age when he could realistically have been a grandfather.
“There seems to be quite a few men who couldn’t settle for many years after the war and it took a long time for them to find a way to build a life and raise a family.
“It’s something that, to my generation, will never heal itself.
“But I feel that service at the Abbey has perhaps helped bring some closure.”
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