Today saw three services of rememberance in the Morley area, first at Churwell, then in Morley, then finally at East Ardsley.
The order of service is much the same each year and there is another tradition which I call “The slamming of the gates”.
My first couple of Services were in Batley as part of the Round Table. The events are very egalitarian there, everyone is invited into the Town Hall for a cup of tea and a biscuit afterwards and people can chat sat at tables.
My first one as a Morley Councillor though was a little more elitist, only the select few could go into the Town hall afterwards. (Well, it wasn’t a few, it was most people on the parade).
The procession lines up formally before the event, but afterwards, Councillors and dignitaries scurry off back to the Town Hall so that they can take the salute on the imposing Town Hall steps. The first year I stood on the steps, I was surprised to notice the custodial staff slamming the gates shut behind us as we entered the ceremonial entrance. This was repeated the following two years but with the retirement of the longest serving member of staff, it is a little more relaxed these days.
Today, I was running errands so I didn’t get to see all of the proceedings but I did see the gates get closed. The ceremony of the gates had a slight variant this year- firstly they were taking their time shutting them and it turned out that they were waiting for me! “You coming in then, Ian?” “No, I’m just a pleb now.” (Although David was keen to raid some biscuits).
Then, as they started to close the gates, Colin Challen MP came out, carrying a wreath (presumably to take to Rothwell, the other town in the constituency).
I was surprised to see he had several medals on his chest- a quick look on Wikipedia says that he was a supplier accountant for the Royal Air Force. Perhaps they aren’t medals for courage or valour then.
I tried to catch his eye to ask him how he was getting on with reading 1984, but he was oblivious to me. The Morley Mayor was happy to give me a wave for the readers though. (Sorry it is blurry, I wasn’t really paying attention).
Here is the ceremony of the excluding of the plebs.