In the video above the Queen’s men, and the Vintners and Dyers teams, make a toast to the Queen at the end of the five day annual swan upping census.
The census ends at Abingdon Bridge where a crowd had been waiting in the rain.
Some people found places to shelter during the wait.
There is no set time for their arrival. It takes as long as it takes and the swan uppers arrived at about 5:30 pm. They had caught and inspected 147 swans (if my hearing is correct) and that meant they were kept busy.
They deserved their drop of rum after all their efforts to count and maintain the swan population.
Remembrance Sunday is the second Sunday of November and ceremonies are held throughout the country in churches, cenotaphs and war memorials.
We had a knock on the door at 8 am, a reminder that our car was parked on the route of the parade and needed moving. It was chilly out.
At 10:15 dignitaries paraded from the Guildhall to St Helen’s Church, and after a service inside joined the crowd of people already standing round the war memorial in the Square shortly before 11am.
They were joined at both services by soldiers from Dalton Barracks, who not only join the community at Abingdon but send teams to ceremonies round the region.
Many different uniformed groups took part. On Remembrance Sunday, Scouts are expected to attend and give the troop priority over their other Sunday sporting activities.
So at 11 Abingdon paused to pay its respects to those who lost their lives in conflict. The ‘Last Post’ was played by Abingdon Town Band member, Alison Rich, to mark the start of the two minute silence at 11. She then sounded the ‘Reveille’. After which The Deputy Lord-Lieutenant, Mrs Felicity Dick; the Mayor of Abingdon, Councillor Jan Morter; MP for Abingdon and Oxford West, Layla Moran, the Royal British Legion and many other organisations laid wreaths of red poppies at the memorial.
The poppy is the symbol of the Day of Remembrance because many years ago poppies grew from the the choppy earth where troops had fallen.
Remembering is the process of ‘Bringing the past into the present’… But who now can remember what it was like to live in the trenches of WWI? Only through war poetry have those memories become part of our collective consciousness …
Do you remember the dark months you held the sector at Mametz–
The nights you watched and wired and dug and piled sandbags on parapets?
Do you remember the rats; and the stench
Of corpses rotting in front of the front-line trench–
And dawn coming, dirty-white, and chill with a hopeless rain?
(lines from a poem by Siegfried Sassoon called Aftermath)
Finally there is a march along the High Street to the County Hall. People, who could not squeeze into the Square,cheered as the band, the troops and uniformed groups marched by.
One innovation this year, and a sign of the times after recent terrorist attacks by vehicles driven into crowds, was that a tractor, and land rover were parked at strategic points – as crash barriers.
This morning the annual civic service took place at St Helen’s Church.
An array of civic dignitaries set off from the Guildhall towards the church led by the maces of Abingdon-on-Thames and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The Mayor of Abingdon for 2017-18, Councillor Jan Morter, was accompanied by the Mayor of Kensington and Chelsea, and other dignatories including up to 18 members of Abingdon Town Council. There is an ancient connection between Kensington and the Abbey of Abingdon dating back to the 1100s. The civic connection was revived in the 1950s, and Mayors now take it in turns to attend each other’s civic service.
There was a changing of the Guard at the Guildhall this evening. Malcolm Hill carried the Mace into the Mayor Making Ceremony for the final time this evening – having held the Office of Honorary Macebearer since 2003.
Nigel Luker became the new Honorary Macebearer and carried the Mace out of the Ceremony.
Malcolm is seen here after the ceremony. He was presented with a certificate by the outgoing Mayor, Angela Lawrence.
Angela gave Mayor’s awards to the chair of governors of the three state secondary schools in Abingdon:
Lynn Fathers – Fitzharrys
Paul Brooks – John Mason
David Lever – Larkmead
Angela commented that the position of school governor is a far more demanding role these days. Governors are held to account for how their school is performing, and need to come to grips with all kinds of data.
Mayor’s Awards were also given to:
Wendy Barratt – Abingdon Breakaway Club,
Dr Tony Gillman – Abingdon, Didcot, and Wantage Talking Newspaper (DAWN)
The incoming Mayor is Helen Pighills,
and her deputy is Alice Badcock.
The new town council also had quite a few different faces.