Grantham Journal columnist: Visit to the Somme showed respect for our fallen is ongoing

Coun Ian Selby
Coun Ian Selby

At the very top of my agenda each year, nothing takes precedence over our Remembrance commemorations and paying respects for the people who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we may enjoy our freedom.

Last year as the mayor, along with my parents John and Anita, we paid a visit to The Somme in northern France to visit the grave of our relative Thomas Beaver Selby who died during the First World War. We laid a wreath at Tom’s grave, and a second wreath at The Thiepval Memorial, a memorial to the missing of the Somme which bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men who died in the Somme and have no known grave. I give much credit and thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission who do an incredible job at maintaining the numerous cemeteries in immaculate condition in memory of the fallen.

Grantham is steeped in military history and many of our local churches pay tribute with plaques on their walls in remembrance to those who died during war.

It saddens me when some of our Chartered Trustees fail to turn up for the official Remembrance events. Even more disappointing is when last year two seats were reserved in St Wulfrum’s Church but weren’t filled. It was a packed church, people were standing at the back. No apologies were sent. This occurred two consecutive years, even after a request by myself last year as the mayor for it not to happen. For me this just showed a total lack of respect for the people of this town and for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

On a much better note, though, I praise all of the staff from our local cadet forces. There are four cadet forces in our town. The Army, the Combined, the 47F RAF, and the police cadets. They are all an absolute credit to our town and I would encourage any youngster to get involved with any of these four organisations. When I see 
our cadets presented and behaving in an exemplary manner they make us so very proud of some of the youth of this town. Well done to them.

Finally I very much agree with Asda’s community champion Mrs Karen Guest, who suggested to me that Armistice Day should be a Bank Holiday.