Diss falls silent to mark Remembrance Sunday

17 November 2021

News, Council Services

Hundreds gathered in Diss on Remembrance Sunday to pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom. 


Lining the streets from Mere’s Mouth up to the Market Place, crowds watched as over 30 local organisations and community groups paraded through the town.


A town comes together


Led by the Reverend Tony Billett, Rector of Diss Team Ministry, the town fell still and silent at St Mary’s church for two minutes of reflection.


The wreath-laying ceremony that followed included representatives from local and central government, the armed forces, emergency services, sports clubs and charities.


“It was good to see so many different groups and representatives from all levels of government, including our MP Richard Bacon, the Deputy Lord-Lieutenant of Norfolk Philippa Taylor and district and county councillors paying their respects,” said Diss Town Mayor, Cllr Eric Taylor. “The attendance of two Apache helicopters as they flew past was also very special.”


“It was a privilege for me to attend Diss’ Remembrance Sunday,” said Deputy Lord-Lieutenant of Norfolk Philippa Taylor. “It was a very moving, well-organised and well-supported event.”


In the planning of this year’s event, the organising committee also remembered the late Jim Bidwell, a stalwart member of the Diss & District branch of The Royal British Legion.


“I was honoured to be a member of Diss’ Remembrance organising committee, alongside representatives from the Diss & District Royal British Legion, St Mary’s church and the Army and Air Cadets,” said Diss Town Clerk, Sarah Richards. “I made a promise to the late Jim Bidwell, a staunch supporter of the Royal British Legion who dedicated his time and energy to making Remembrance activities happen for many years, that we would do him proud. And I hope we did that.” 


At the last meeting of the organising committee, the Royal British Legion recognised the role of Diss Town Clerk, Sarah Richards in helping plan and coordinate the event.


“I was overwhelmed to be presented with a centenary badge from the Royal British Legion for my involvement in the event,” said Sarah. “I shall wear it each year with pride. It was an honour to be involved. And I’d like to thank everyone who made the event so memorable and moving. Special mention goes to the organising committee for their hard work and commitment, the many local organisations who took part in the parade and wreath-laying ceremony, and the public for attending to pay their respects to those who sacrificed themselves to secure and protect our freedom.”


Local councillor and president of the Diss & District Royal British Legion, Graham Minshull, praised the work of the town council in helping organise the event.


“I’d like to thank everyone at Diss Town Council for all their efforts this year,” said Councillor Minshull. “Remembrance Sunday means a lot to the people of Diss. And the council is now an integral part of the planning and indeed the day. There’s no doubt that this year’s event went very well and was appreciated by all those who attended.”


A particularly special year


Due to COVID-19 and the restrictions around social gatherings, a larger public event was not possible last year. 


“It’s been two years since the last Remembrance Day was commemorated publicly, which made this year’s event particularly special,” said Park Radio station manager and wreath-layer, Chris Moyse. “It was lovely to see such a wonderful turnout from both community groups and residents. 


“Throughout COVID-19 the importance of 'community' has been highlighted. And this year’s event struck a real chord with people wanting to remember and observe those they have lost their lives through conflict and the pandemic.”


This year’s event was also particularly special for Reverend Tony Billett who led the wreath-laying ceremony and service that followed in St Mary’s church.


“This is the Reverend’s last Remembrance Sunday service before his retirement,” said Diss mayor, Cllr Taylor. “And after more than 20 years’ service to the town, his organisational skills and sense of humour were again superb. He will be missed.” 


Diss falls silent to mark Remembrance Sunday