St George’s Celebrations in Emsworth, Military Parade at the Central Square.

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Under the genial – and extremely effective – control of Councillor Brendan Gibb-Gray, a highly enthusiastic team of local citizens gathered around the superbly maintained Memorial Centre and the newly erected flag-pole in St. Peters Square – the civic centre of Emsworth – before 9.00am, many of whom were soon asked to cruise around the Town Centre, in order to ensure that the approach roads to the Square – King Street, Queen Street and others – were suitably devoid of traffic, as members of the 47 Regiment Royal Artillery were due to arrive at 10.00am, at the lower end of Queen Street, outside the Lord Raglan Public House.

A smartly attired group of soldiers soon arrived, and then – having formed a 50-strong platoon – marched eagerly into Emsworth’s main square, where they were destined to remain for just around an hour. Before long, they were proudly greeted by the Lady Mayoress of Emsworth, Yvonne Weeks, and, very soon, the local vicar, Reverend Simon Sayers joined in, by praising all these soldiers for their protective, civilised, activity and for combining so perfectly with this local community, which is very adjacent to their Army Centre, on Thorney Island.

Once the Royal Navy Volunteer Band had played suitable music after the formal flag raising ceremony, on the new flag pole, and then the National Anthem, they – and the 50 members of the 47 Royal Artillery Regiment – were devotedly applauded by the hundreds of civilians present, particularly as they marched back down Queen Street, for their transport to Headquarters.

Then, having been offered “complimentary service” by several restaurants and coffee-bars within the Square, many of the wholehearted visitors were persuaded to remain there for the next few hours, thus creating a splendidly benevolent and memorable atmosphere in the centre of Emsworth.

John Wheatley