Diary - We must never forget

Two Remembrance Services today, both poignant and both taking place in beautiful sunshine, although a cold northerly ensured everyone was wrapped up. This year it was Portland's turn and, as always, we all gathered at the Heights Hotel, before walking out by the Reverend Tim Gomm and the Reverend James Menzies, who took the simple Service extremely well. There were a lot of islanders; more than last time, we all thought. Everyone joined in the excellent hymns and a long line of wreath-bearers queued up to place their wreath at the base of the Memorial. After the Service, many of us piled into the hotel for a warming coffee of tea. I chatted to as many people as I could and then left for Swanage. The sun still shone as I took the back roads to the resort, arriving in good time for a 1400 kick-off. It had been brought forward by 30 minutes as the Service used to end in the dark. Again, a large parade, and after assembling, we all marched through the town to the church. The Very Reverend John Mann, who is the new Team Rector, met us at the door. A charming man, he led us into the church where we took our places in the front pew. John led a superb Service, which included my favourite hymn I Vow To Thee My Country. Always bring a lump to my throat. Afterwards, we all formed up and marched once again to the newly-located Memorial overlooking the sea. After laying our wreaths, John blessed a new plaque which commemorates all the civilians who were killed in Swanage during World War Two. Then, the parade broke up, with the company from the Royal Signals heading to the Legion for a well-earned beer and some chips. As I drove home, I thought of Gaia Pope, the 19 year old, who is still missing. I just hope to God she is all right. The search continues. Next year we shall all be commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One.