Remembering Leonard Thirkettle

This blog is taken from a newsletter I wrote in 2015 telling the story of how I came to be standing on the balcony of the Mansion House with the Lord Mayor of London as he took the salute at the Remembrance Day parade.

….And that is how I ended up on the balcony of The Mansion House with the Lord Mayor of London.

Isn’t it funny how things turn out?

Last week my husband and I got invited to attend a remembrance service by my father-in-law. It was The Service of Remembrance with the Commemoration of the Fallen at St Pauls Cathedral, followed by wreath laying at the Stock Exchange and a lunch at the Mansion House, arranged by the City of London Association.

Although I’ve been to St Paul’s many times, I’d not been inside for years and had forgotten how ornate the interior is leading up to the dome. You’ll have to Google it as photography is forbidden.

Following the service there was a march to the Stock Exchange, which set off as soon as the Standard-bearers left the Cathedral. By the time the general congregation were able to leave, and we had found the disabled exit, we had missed the set off. However, we decided to “head them off at the pass” so to speak and take a short cut along Cheapside towards the Bank of England.

Alas, they’d got more of a head start than we imagined. We missed the parade arriving and there was already quite a crowd gathered in front of the Stock Exchange. As it would have been difficult for my father-in-law to see we decided to go and wait at the Mansion House instead.

Having been checked in by security, we were told the main lift was out of service, so we were escorted to another lift. The security officer directed us to a door leading to “the others”. We found ourselves alone in a large room, until I spotted a crowd and went to join them. That’s when I found myself on the balcony of the Mansion House with city dignitaries, overlooking the wreath laying ceremony at the Stock Exchange.

Signalling to the others to join me, we stood at the back of the balcony to watch the service. Then, noticing my father-in-law was in a wheelchair, the other viewers made way for him to see the proceedings.

As the ceremony was about to finish, my husband was asked to move his father along the balcony a little to make way for the Lord Mayor at arrive. Lord Mayor Alan Yarrow led the procession onto the Mansion House balcony for the march past by service and ex-service personnel.

And that’s how I came to be standing on the balcony of the Mansion House with the Lord Mayor of London as he took the salute at the Remembrance Day parade.

 

Sadly, my father-in-law will not see this year’s remembrance service as he passed away on 27th October, but I felt this story of him deserved retelling.

Der_Boys - Leonard Alexander Thirkettle with his three sons
Leonard Alexander Thirkettle with his three sons

In memory of Len Thirkettle

 

Leonard Alexander Thirkettle 13th August 1926 – 27th October 2018

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