Thousands of Harrow residents made their way to the former Civic Centre site in Harrow today, November 12th, for the Remembrance Sunday parade and service, honouring the sacrifices of fallen heroes from the First and Second World Wars and subsequent conflicts.
The ceremony started in Harrow Town Centre at Katie’s Statue, with the 131 Commando Squadron Royal Engineers leading the parade, joined by the Royal British Legion, cadets, scouts, volunteers, and various organisations.
For the first time, the borough’s high streets adorned large red poppies from the Royal British Legion, and Tommy silhouettes lined the parade route, paying homage to both fallen and serving/ex-serving armed forces members.
At 11am, Harrow came to a standstill, observing two minutes of silence. This was followed by prayers led by Reverend Simon Johnson from the Holy Trinity Church, Wealdstone.
Faith leaders from Harrow Interfaith contributed readings, and the wreath-laying at the war memorial on Station Road was led by Mayor of Harrow, Cllr Ramji Chauhan, and Deputy Lieutenant Simon Ovens.
Among those who laid wreaths at the war memorial were Leader of the Council, Cllr Paul Osborn, Bob Blackman MP, Gareth Thomas MP, and the Mayor on behalf of the Burgesses of the Borough, along with numerous others.
Each wreath symbolised a collective acknowledgment of the sacrifices made by servicemen and women, bridging political, community, and faith boundaries in a unified expression of remembrance.
Hymns and musical contributions from The Grimsdyke Brass Band and The Apollo Male Choir heightened the atmosphere at the service as they played on throughout.
Reflecting on the parade and service, Mayor of Harrow, Cllr Ramji Chauhan expressed gratitude to the organisers, and those who participated.
He said, “This was a very moving parade and service – made even more poignant with it being the last one held at the former Civic Centre.
“Remembrance Sunday is always a solemn time to reflect on those men and women in our armed forces who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom we enjoy today.
“I know many residents will have loved ones or family members who fought in the war – or are currently serving in our armed forces. Their contributions and sacrifices must never be forgotten.
“Thank you everyone who came along to show their support by following the parade and pay their respects for our brave soldiers.
“Finally I would like to send my congratulations and thanks to those who took part in the parade and to the organisers of this very important event.”
The service included the singing of the National Anthem, with members of the public joining in. Winning poems from the Mayor’s Remembrance Day poetry competition were also recited with the service concluding with a march past at the former Civic Centre site.
Looking ahead to next year, plans are already underway to carefully organise the 2024 parade and service, which will shift to Harrow Town Centre following the relocation of the War Memorial to St Anns Road, marking the end of an era at the former Civic Centre.