Hundreds march through Lee-on-the-Solent as part of Second World War event
VETERANS, naval recruits, and historical re-enactors were among hundreds of people in a parade held to ‘keep history alive’.
As part of the first ever Lee Victory Festival spectators watched as around 400 military figures past and present either marched or drove along Lee-on-the-Solent seafront on Saturday.
It was a delayed opportunity to mark both VE and VJ Day as the 75th anniversary events were postponed due to the pandemic.
Onlookers were invited to enjoy live music, dancing, re-enactments, a funfair and vehicle displays from the era on the first day of a three-day ticketed event.
A planned Spitfire display was cancelled due to low cloud cover.
Taking part in the morning parade on Saturday was Second World War veteran Frank Proctor, who was driven through Lee in a wartime vehicle.
The 99-year-old said: ‘I was in the RAF in the 11th squadron during the war.
‘Being here today is a bit overwhelming. My head is full of memories from the war.’
He was accompanied by historical re-enactor Rob Kempster, 58, who is also from Southampton.
‘It’s really emotional to meet these veterans and hear their zest for life,’ he said.
‘This event is really all about them and it’s important we remember everything they did and to keep history alive.’
Organiser of the event and chairman of the Lee Business Association, Jonathan Moore, said: ‘We’re trying to bring togetherness. We want to bring all the families of Lee, Gosport, Fareham to come together and celebrate.
‘We’re very privileged to have three World War veterans here.
‘Hopefully this will help the younger generation of children understand why we are here today.’
Among the crowds attending were local families, as well as people who had travelled from miles away.
Pamela Lechie, 48, came to the event from Berkshire with her children Glen, seven, and Heather, six.
She said: ‘We just love anything to do with the Second World War, which is why we’ve dressed up and come all the way here. The community spirit here is great.’
Lee resident Lewis Montgomery, 38, who attended with his daughter Mila, five, added: ‘It’s great, it’s absolutely amazing. It’s really important to keep history alive like this and it’s good for the kids to learn.’