The weather was perfect this morning for the 2014 Remembrance Service held in Swindon Town Centre at the Cenotaph. There was probably 2000 people attending. Amongst those were Robert Buckland MP South Swindon and Solicitor General, Justin Tomlinson MP Swindon North, Councillor Teresa Page Mayor of Swindon and David Renard leader of Swindon Council.
I was lucky enough to photograph and meet the cast of Birdsong (as show based on the book by Sebastian Faulks) which included Peter Duncan, Jonny Clarke and George Banks. They were in costume, uniforms from the First World War which was quite strange when we were taking photos at the Cenotaph in the Swindon Town Centre. The cast also met Tom Stimpson MBE the representative and ambassador for Help for Heroes charity. Firstly I had a really good chat with Peter Duncan. The last time I spoke to him was at around mile 20 of the first London Marathon which we both ran. I also had a really good chat with Tom Stimpson MBE. Tom is ex RAF as am I but Tom was unfortunately injured in Afghanistan and has suffered from PTSD and now campaigns on behalf of Help for Heroes and other mental disability charities.
All in all a very interesting couple of hours.
Nothing to say on this really other than that the Remembrance Parade, Service, Ceremony here in Swindon is still as strong as ever after a large turn out of both those who took part in the parade and the public who came to support. The weather was perfect, a bright sunny November day.
It was a busy afternoon in London on Sunday.
Whitehall was a very busy place. Firstly I covered the service and laying of wreaths at the war memorial by riders from the Help For Heroes Charity bike ride from Paris to London.
Then I covered the protest by UK based Turkish and Kurdish protestors who were there to show solidarity with all the protesters out in Turkey who are protesting against the ruling AKP party.
Then I covered a protest by some UK based Venezuelans who were protesting against alleged rigged elections by the ruling government party.
Then I covered a Free Palestine protest mainly by Orthodox Jews and members of the Neturei Karda who were also protesting against Zionism and the mass rally that was taking place in Trafalgar Square to celebrate 65 years of the State of Israel.
It was a hot, busy and tiring but really good day for a photojournalist.
Yesterday I attended the Repatriation of Cpl William Savage and Fusilier Samuel Flint of the Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland at Brize Norton. The soldiers were two of the three who were killed by a road side bomb in Afghanistan on the 30th April.
Despite absolutely awful weather of driving rain and 50mph winds hundreds turned out to send them on their way.
Particularly sad was watching the 27 year old wife of Cpl William Savage who is expecting their son shortly.
What was also interesting for me was I hooked up with the other photographers there from Getty, Reuters, AFP etc and had some very interesting discussions about the state of the industry!!!
Back to the repatriation though, I believe that even if you dont support what is happening in Afghanistan etc if the opportunity arrises you should try to go to at least one repatriation service. It is an experience. For me despite going to pretty much all of them and having published a successful book of images and poems about them in Wootton Bassett I still really feel for the families of those that have fallen.