Hundreds line the streets of Emsworth for St George’s parade

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VETERANS and serving soldiers proudly stood side by side as Emsworth hosted its third St George’s Day Parade.

Soldiers from 47 Regiment, based in Thorney Island, paraded through the streets of the town in front of a crowd of thousands of enthusiastic supporters.

Major Matt White of the 47th Royal Artillery from Thorney Island pins a rose onto Royal Navy veteran Norman Jennngs at the St Georges Day parade in Emsworth.     'Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (111418-9)

Major Matt White of the 47th Royal Artillery from Thorney Island pins a rose onto Royal Navy veteran Norman Jennngs at the St Georges Day parade in Emsworth. 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (111418-9)

Lining the streets waving flags and decked out in white and red, people from across the area cheered the marching men and women as they made their way to The Square - to music by the Royal Navy Volunteer Band.

Although the parade was this year held two days before St George’s Day because of the way the bank holidays fell, there was still a tremendous atmosphere.

Jim Jacobs, from Angus Close, Fareham, was one of a dozen veterans who turned out for the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Imjin River.

Each year the Mayor of Havant pins the Imjin Rose on to the lapels of the Korean War veterans.

From now on the rose will be pinned to lapels of veterans of all wars and will be known as the Emsworth Rose.

Mr Jacobs, 78, said: ‘I wouldn’t have missed this for the world. I still remember Korea vividly.

‘We started fighting at 10pm on April 22 and didn’t sleep until the morning of April 26.

‘It was quite horrendous and I feel very grateful that it is being remembered here.’

There were fewer soldiers on parade than in previous years because almost 70 are on a tour of duty in Afghanistan while many were off on Easter leave.

Mayor of Havant, Councillor Yvonne Weeks, said: ‘Over the last few years the community in Emsworth has forged close links with the soldiers.

‘We all appreciate the dedication shown by them and this parade is our way of expressing our gratitude.’

Major Matt White, of 47 Regiment, said the close relationship between the regiment and the community was something he was proud of and said he would work to keep it going.

The bus shelter war memorial was also rededicated at the parade after a stunning refurbishment. Panes of glass have photographs of Emsworth during the war years printed on them.

Havant MP David Willetts publicly thanked Havant’s Councillor Brendan Gibb-Gray for organising the parade.