Report after the Procession
The weather behaved! The rain stopped, the wind abated and it was a stary, beautiful and clear night. The flame torches were lit and we walked together for just under a mile in a procession of light! We did it and we remembered!
All residents who applied and attended the prior safety briefing were given a real flame torch. 85 were lit and 15 were given later to the marshals who joined the end of the procession. 100 torches for 100 years. 260 glow sticks were distributed to the young and the young at heart. We estimate that there were between 400-500 people. The less able were ferried up by Minibus.
The National Trust and the British Legion did us proud and we witnessed the South Foreland lighthouse shining once again for one night and for one night only across the channel and over our valley.
The Fan Bay siren alerted us to the start of the short but poignant service and after a welcome from Jon Barber of the National Trust we listened to the Flowers of the Forest playing on the Bagpipes at the top of the lighthouse. The standards were dropped as Francis Hutley read out the names of the villagers who had died in both world wars, the last post was played, a 2 minute silence was held and the service completed with the Fan Bay All clear siren.
So many people were involved to make this happen, and that’s before we think of all the brave volunteers at the National Trust who tirelessly kept the light shining throughout the night. Aiden Denton, Peter Bailey, Dave & Richard Hart, Greg O’Brien, the road associations, our first aiders Tanya & Clive Harding, our resident off duty fireman Jason Lahaye, Chris Harris with his fire extinguishers, the parish Councillors particularly Tony Fielding who authored the Risk Assessment and conducted the minibus with Brenda Paul, Chris Smith, Jennie Harris, Rob Wilkie who marshaled along with John Kerby, Rose & James Rouse, Christine Waterman. Tina Watkins assisted by Henry Simcox gave out the the glow-sticks. Beata Bailey discretely led the first walkers whilst Pete Evans and his family were responsible for the Tommy silhouettes that lined the route – They were indeed there but not there! From the British Legion Francis Hutley, with Alan Birch & Michael Underhill as standard bearers. The scouts -John Glentworth, Jack & Abbie Parness, and George Simcox – who also created that rather fine route plan and not forgetting Helen Hill helping me with the final liter sweep the following day. Oh and Thanet Community Transport who shuttled our less able residents. My final thanks go to my long suffering husband – David – who put up with me during the preparations, offered advice where necessary, put the lights up high out of reach, and I think, rather enjoyed being armed with a blow torch and let loose!