Children show the D-Day spirit as Storm Miguel hits Southsea concert – but events are cancelled

MORE than 600 school children have been left disappointed after the British weather caused a concert they were performing in honour of D-Day to be cancelled as they were due to go on stage.

Friday, 7th June 2019, 1:49 pm
Updated Friday, 7th June 2019, 6:18 pm

The event, which was organised by the Portsmouth Music Hub, was cancelled as storm Miguel brought strong winds and torrential rain to Southsea Common.

Despite the weather, a sizeable crowd, including Second World War veterans, had come to enjoy the concert.

Other events today have been cancelled including the Military Concert Band performance, scheduled for 5pm, and the big screen showing of Bedknobs and Broomsticks at 7pm.

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Sue Beckett (left), chief executive officer of Portsmouth Music Hub, and Polly Honeychurch, head teacher at Cottage Grove Primary School.

The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, scheduled for 6pm, will now take place at the Pyramids Centre.

Cllr Suzy Horton, cabinet member for education, said: ‘We were aware that rain was forecast and made contingency plans to ensure the children could sit undercover. However the decision was taken to cancel the event after strong winds created a health and safety risk for people located on the stage and in the temporary seating. It’s obviously disappointing but if there are concerns over health and safety then you don’t take that risk.’

The children were due to entertain the crowd with a range of wartime classic songs including the first public performance ‘6th June 1944’ - a song specially composed to mark D-Day.

As children waited to be transported back to school an impromptu rendition of the song broke out in the marquee into which they were huddled.

The Chapmans family brave the weather. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Polly Honeychurch, head teacher at Cottage Grove Primary School, said: ‘In many ways the determination to sing their song and seeing everyone rally round in difficult circumstances epitomised the D-Day spirit. Whilst the children were disappointed not perform on stage they at least got to sing their song.’

Will Schmit, assistant head teacher at Mayville Junior School, added: ‘The fact the children came together and performed their song was important for them to feel involved in the commemorations.’

Despite the disappointment, the council hope to provide a future opportunity for the children to perform.

Sue Beckett, chief executive officer of Portsmouth Music Hub, said: ‘Despite the weather the event has been really well supported by the people of Portsmouth. We are already looking at ideas for the children to perform this concert.’

Wendy Carter, left, and Samantha Bray shelter under umbrellas. Picture: Chris Moorhouse
People shelter from the wind and rain behind the loos. Picture: Chris Moorhouse
The empty stage on which the children were due to perform. Picture: Chris Moorhouse
People turn up in the wind and rain for the D-Day music festival on Southsea Common. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (070619-7)