Hundreds pay tribute around restored Old Malden war memorial
Hundreds of people gathered at a newly-restored war memorial on Remembrance Sunday to honour those who have lost their lives fighting for their country.
St John the Baptist Church had feared they would have to cancel the annual commemoration after lead thieves toppled the Old Malden monument in September.
But generous Surrey Comet readers donated more than £3,000 to our Honour the Fallen campaign to ensure the tribute could be repaired in time.
Dorothea Paul, 78, who has helped provide flowers on the war memorial for 45 years, attended the service.
She said: “I was absolutely overjoyed this morning when I found that the memorial had been replaced and put together again.”
Kenneth Scott, now 84, was 17 when he volunteered for the Royal Artillery in 1944, but was too young to be sent to serve abroad.
He said: “I think in particular of friends and pals who are not with us. I just hope we have created a better world.
“Unfortunately the regiment I was with, they went out to Java and got wiped out in the first air raid. In a way it was a blessing [that I was too young].
“I lost other people during the war – I have a cousin who went through the Middle East campaign. He was clearing mines in Italy – on the last day he stepped on a mine.”
After the two minute silence, vicar Kevin Scott led a small party of scouts and beavers who lay individual posies at the graves of four World War II RAF men and a member of the home guard.
Old Malden resident Colin Denny, 55, said: “I think there’s a lot of older people in the area and they have really appreciated that the war memorial was fixed and looking really good.
“It was really good they could come back and the service went on. For them, it’s a central point.”
James Thorp, eight, said: “They may not mean anything to you, but they mean something to other people because they saved lives in the war and helped make peace.”