From a six-year-old Brownie in wellies to a proud Second World War veteran displaying their medals, Greenford’s parade on Remembrance Sunday brought everyone in the local community together.
But while most people are able to join the annual walk to the war memorial outside Greenford Hall on 11 November, many Royal British Legion members now struggle to join in, as age and infirmity limit their mobility.
This year, however, determined volunteers from Ealing Community Transport (ECT) ensured that age and infirmity were no longer barriers for people who wished to honour fallen comrades, or pay their respects to those who have lost their lives in service of their country.
As the hundreds of veterans, cadets, Guides, Scouts and military personnel marched in time to the beat of various military bands, a bright green minibus could be seen joining the parade, which this year also marked the First World War Centenary.
Provided by ECT – a charity which enables those who struggle with mainstream transport to get out and about – the minibus was arranged thanks to Nick Hilton, a member of the ECT operations team and a committee member of the Royal British Legion Club in Greenford.
In recent years, Nick had been struck by the disappointment expressed by those who could no longer take part in the parade. He said: “Remembrance Sunday is a big deal to British Legion members. For some people, it is just a walk. But for our members, it is so much more.
“During my time at the Royal British Legion Club, I have seen able elders grow less able to do the things that they love to do, including joining the Remembrance parade. So, ECT driver Mandy Golby and I came up with the idea of partnering with ECT to provide a minibus, and I am proud that mobility is no longer a barrier for those who want to show their respects.”
Feedback from the passengers has been overwhelmingly positive. Nick said: “One of the veterans told me it was ‘just like the old days, with everyone back together again’. This is about people being able to get together and be where they really want to be, instead of being isolated alone.
“Everybody that wishes to pay their respects to the fallen forces should be entitled to do so, regardless of disability or mobility issues. To have been able to help people on the First World War Centenary was priceless.”
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