Rather than attending the Remembrance Day service at Tunbridge Wells Town Hall today, I went instead to the service at Pembury. Having dropped my wife off at hospital at 8am this morning, I took my daughters for hot chocolate to beat the chill morning air, then on to Pembury Village where they joined their Guide and Brownie packs before processing into St Peters Church on Hastings Road.
It was a far more intimate affair than the Town Hall version; a local resident read the roll of those young men who had fallen in both the First and Second World Wars; the Reverend Matthew Jackson gave an excellent sermon about remembering; and we all sang hymns before processing out to the War Memorial.
And after the Burma Star veterans; after the Parish Council; after the other ex-servicemen and after the Scout Master, I laid a wreath on behalf of the Members of Kent County Council. And then it was over, and I rejoined my daughters and took them for more hot chocolate.
But today, with Hastings Road closed off by police cars, and with several hundred Pembury residents in attendance – many of whom came up to say hello afterwards – I felt a huge sense of community.
And it was good to remember so intimately those young men who once walked along the same road.