D-Day: Lighting of beacon marks end of 80th anniversary events in Billingshurst

The lighting of the beacon at Adversane Green marked the end of a packed program of events in Billingshurst to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

The itinerary started on the Wednesday evening with a candle lit service at 10.30pm at St. Mary’s Church, denoting the time when the flotilla set off across the channel from our southern shores.

This was followed on the Thursday morning at 7.30 by a wreath-laying ceremony at the war memorial, this time marking the time when the vessels carrying brave servicemen landed on the Normandy beaches.

A hearty lunch was served at the Billingshurst Centre to a crowd of nearly 70 residents, who were entertained by Billingshurst’s own crooner, Rob Nicol.

The bells at St Mary’s joined the national peal at 6.30pm which heralded an evening of activity on Adversane Green. Local militaria collector Kevin Rowlatt displayed military kit appropriate to the occasion which was of great interest to visitors.

Meanwhile Horsham Royal British Band entertained the crowd with tunes from the era.

Organisers were delighted that several other local classic car and motorcycle owners turned up, plus two residents in period dress.

Parish Cllr Chairman Cllr Ken Peters read the International Tribute before lighting the beacon which has now become a local landmark, accompanied to the haunting melody of Scottish Pieper, Rhona McGurk who rounded off the occasion.

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