Covid-19 did not deter the people of Epsom and Ewell from gathering, at a distance, in the market square, to pay their respects to those who had lost their lives in wars and conflicts past and present.
To a backdrop of the town’s French Food Market, on Wednesday 11th November at precisely 11am, people bowed their heads and reflected during the two-minute silence.
In stark contrast to last year’s town centre Remembrance Service, observed by around 200 onlookers, Covid-19 had prohibited the presence of Armed Forces, Police, Scouts, Cadets, and school children. This year onlookers watched as The Mayor of Epsom and Ewell, Councillor Humphrey Reynolds, not dressed this year in ceremonial attire, and his wife Gillian the Mayoress, laid a wreath at the foot of the Clock Tower.
Len Lainsbury, who joined the Army in 1952, later becoming a Sergeant, was among the gathering of around seventy people who had come to show respect. He was there, he said, to represent his family who’d served in both Army and Navy and were lost in conflict.
French stall-holder Sebastian described the occasion as simple and dignified. ‘In France young people don’t always connect with remembrance, it seems lost in the corridors of time. People here today really felt a connection.’
The Mayor spoke briefly to me with a message for our listeners, saying:
‘I am delighted that so many people have come here today to observe the 2-minute silence, keeping their distance and wearing masks. Unfortunately, the Armed Services couldn’t be here because of Covid-19, but nevertheless the people of Epsom and Ewell were quiet and thoughtful.’
Following the two-minute silence, the flag was raised, the crowd applauded spontaneously and Epsom life continued. By News Editor Jan Collier