Swanton Morley, a community with a very big heart

Trooper Phillip Lawrence.

Trooper Phillip Lawrence. - Credit: Archant

I write on behalf of Swanton Morley Parish Council to thank everyone who has sent messages of support and gratitude regarding the village's tribute to the fallen Light Dragoons and attached Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, to whom our new Meadowview development bears their names in the form of street names and the name of the green open space.

In excess of 250 people attended the memorial service at All Saints' church, including dignitaries such as The Lord Dannatt, Major General Rutherford–Jones, Light Dragoons, serving members of the military, representatives from local councils and local people who wanted to pay their respects.

I am sure all would agree that the most important people in attendance were the families of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Whilst the memorial service was moving, the true emotion showed upon the unveiling of the memorial lectern and the invitation for the families to lay a bouquet of flowers at the signs that bear the names of their loved ones.

But for me, the sight that stays with me is the young daughter of Trooper Phillip Lawrence, practising her gymnastics in front of the sign dedicated to her father.

She was only a baby when he died. Being so very young at the time she does not remember him but wanted to show her daddy the skills she has learnt.

This epitomises what the parish council looked to achieve. A lasting memorial in an area where people can live in harmony, have fun and spend time with family and friends and also a place where the families of these young men can come back to in the future.

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Being a military village is very different from a normal parish. A significant number of our community live 'behind the wire', but these soldiers and their families have never been seen as any less of a part of our community, however different their lifestyles may be.

We are all individuals that make our village, but when people come together as they did on Sunday, June 17, it shows we are a community with a big heart.

Lest we forget.


Chairman, Swanton Morley Parish Council