I RECENTLY attended the Remembrance Sunday service in Leigh, when we gathered to remember those men and women of our gallant armed forces who have fallen in defence of our nation over the years.

It was an honour and a privilege to be introduced to Eric Radcliffe, the last surviving D Day veteran in the borough, by local veteran and standard bearer David Yates at the Cenotaph in Leigh.

Mr Radcliffe is 98 years old, and is among the last of that greatest generation who fought and beat Hitler in World War Two, against all the odds.

Without men like Eric, and those who fell around him on the beaches of Normandy, the world today would be a place of iron-bound tyranny and darkness.

We were incredibly lucky to have such men as Eric and his comrades, and I pay tribute to their service and sacrifice on behalf of our nation.

One elderly local resident made the observation that this was one of the largest Remembrance Day turnouts at Leigh that he could recall.

There is no doubt in my mind that the national debate about the inappropriateness of political protest over Remembrance Weekend created greater awareness among the wider public about the importance of respecting both our veterans and our war dead. I was glad to see that no protests took place locally at the Leigh Cenotaph, and the occasion was accorded the proper respect, as it should be.

The turnout was especially impressive given that the weather was dire at the start of the event, although thankfully the rain diminished as the event wore on.

I’d like to thank the local scout groups from Leigh who allowed me to march back with them to the Town Hall in Leigh after the Remembrance service when I was unable to reach the head of the parade on the return journey due to the large attendance. As a former member of a local scout group myself, I was proud to say that despite their young age and the cold and wet weather, they performed their duties admirably.

I’d also like to thank the volunteers at Leigh Parish Church, who provided tea and cake after the service to those who stayed behind, which was greatly appreciated, especially by those elderly veterans and other pensioners who had to endure the foul weather.

I’d like to thank all those that attended Remembrance events across the Leigh constituency. Remembrance Sunday brings out the best in our community, when we all come together to remember those who, in those famous words ‘for our tomorrow, gave their today’.