Stoke & Staffordshire

Remembrance Sunday: Thousands attend arboretum service

Crowds pay their respects Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Record numbers of people turned out for the service, organisers said

Some 5,000 people have marked Remembrance Sunday at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

The outdoor service began with a two-minute silence at 11:00 GMT.

The congregation then laid wreaths at the Armed Forces Memorial, which is a tribute to the 16,000 service men and women who have died since 1948.

Organisers said the crowds were the biggest seen at a Remembrance Sunday Service at the Arboretum.

'Huge turnout'

They had expected "large numbers" of people to attend the service to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One.

A bugler from West Midlands Police Band played the opening notes of the Last Post.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The arboretum said it had been expecting larger crowds than usual because of the centenary of World War One

Among those who attended was Barry Smith, 67, from Werrington near Stoke-on-Trent.

In nine years, Mr Barry saw service in Kenya, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Aden, Libya, Cyprus, East Germany and even Honduras and Guatemala in Central America.

He said it was important to remember those who had "paid the ultimate sacrifice".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The congregation laid wreaths at the memorials

"I have been around places like Tobruk and El Alamein, and when you see those graves out there, literally thousands of men, it just brings a tear to your eye," he said.

"We should never forget what they sacrificed - and we're here today, because they've done it."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The arboretum staff described the large turnout as "an honour"
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption People said the sacrifice should never be forgotten

Sarah Montgomery, managing director of the National Memorial Arboretum, said: "It was an honour to have a huge turnout for our Remembrance Sunday service.

"The attendance reinforces the importance of remembrance and the resonance it has had with the British public in this significant centenary year.

"We thank all those who came today to pay their respects."

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