Canada Day celebration 28th June 2023

Cllr Sally Cameron recently attended the Canada Day celebrations in Liphook on behalf of the Parish Council, along with Cllr Jeanette Kirby our Chairman. Sally has shared with us her thoughts from the day and you can read these below.

This was my first year attending the Bramshott and Liphook Canada day, hosted by the Liphook Junior School’s Executive Head, Ms Michele Frost.

I attended as Vice-Chair along with Councillor Jeanette Kirby, Chairperson of Bramshott and Liphook Parish Council.  Jeanette and I represented the Parish to commemorate the fallen soldiers and nurses who sacrificed their lives to help support the United Kingdom during the First World War.

In total, 318 Canadian Soldiers and 2 Canadian nurses are buried in the St Mary’s Churchyard in Bramshott, which are superbly maintained by the The Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

The day started on London Road at Radford Bridge.  Here Ms Michele Frost along with Mrs Jenny Brown, Head of Year 4 children assisted the children in raising both the National Flag of Canada and the Union Flag of the United Kingdom.  The children sang the Canadian National Anthem and our own National Anthem along with the many parents who came to support this wonderful event.

After the raising of the flags, we made our way to St Mary’s Church in Bramshott for a Memorial Service conducted by The Reverend Valentine Inglis-Jones.

In attendance, to form the Canadian delegation, were The Minister for Defence, Anita Anand and the Deputy Defence Minister, Bill Matthews, Lord Lieutenant  Major General James Balfour, Brigadier Dwayne Parsons and Captain Chris Peschke from the High Commission of Canada.

The Liphook Royal British Legion represented by Brigadier Sean Brady included Terry Burns who carried the RBL Standard, Chris Wright who carried the Union Flag and Andy Lucas who carried the Canadian Flag, also in attendance were Nick Stead, Bob Hall, Alan Clare, Ron Halt and Paul Geddes.  We had a superb Trumpeter, David who played eloquently to mark the occasion.

The Church Service started with the uplifting Hymn Stand Up! Stand Up for Jesus.  I have to say the singing from the Year 4 pupils was outstanding, throughout the entire service and I’m sure the whole of Bramshott must have enjoyed the hymns.

We listened to readings, confidently read by Year 4 pupils and finished the Service with both the British National Anthem and The Canadian National Anthem, “O Canada.”

We proceeded outside to The War Memorial and the War Graves in St Mary’s Churchyard.

Here the Canadian delegation lay their wreaths along with Councillor Jeanette Kirby and myself on behalf of the Parish Council and District Councillors Angela Glass and Bill Mouland, from East Hampshire District Council.

One of the highlights for me was the children from Year 4 had all picked a soldier or nurse to research for this event and this alone demonstrated such a huge mark of respect for the Canadians, who gave their lives. The children spoke with confidence and pride and were very impressive throughout the event. The Liphook Heritage centre assisted the children in their research as they hold a vast amount of information dating back many years.

This was followed by the Last Post, one minute silence and finally Reveille. This was a very moving experience for the large crowd of parents, local Councillors and the Canadian delegation all clearly touched by the emotion of this very special day, one which I was very proud to be part of.

The Canadian Minister for Defence then proceeded to plant a new Maple tree, which had been donated by Bramshott Open Gardens and which replaced two of the original trees planted at the end of WW1 which had been lost due to a storm.

The grand finale of the day was held at the Liphook Junior school where a lunch was hosted and the whole of Year 4 children put on a most remarkable play all about Mabel and Archie Ford, from Saskatchewan in Canada.  This gave us a snapshot of WW1 and the experiences of two Canadian siblings.

Mabel to be a nurse and Archie to fight in the War. Archie is one of the Soldiers buried at Bramshott Church.

The play was outstanding, very emotional and clearly Mrs Jenny Brown had worked incredibly hard as the children were word perfect throughout the many songs, poems and readings.

The poem “Alive with Poppies” by Thomas Roberts ran during the play and Wartime songs from WW1 such as “Pack up your troubles” and “Run Rabbit” and “Goodnight Sergeant Major” to name but a few.  A unique film entertained us with footage from Vancouver at the turn of the Century and “The Padre” song, written by Chris Hoban as a commemoration of the Great War was performed by former Liphook Junior School pupil, Emily Brown.  Who also sang “You are the Reason” by Callum Scott.  Both songs accompanied by Phil Damerell on the Piano.

Without a doubt one of my favourite days since joining the Parish Council.  The sheer hard work and planning that has gone into this day very special.  The passion and commitment shown by the Year 4 children was remarkable.

I believe Liphook Junior School, the Teachers and the most amazing Year 4 children have pulled off a spectacular day and something we all in Liphook should be extremely proud of.  The Canadian delegation were humbled by the respect and thanks Liphook Junior School continue to remember year after year.

On a final note and on the Retirement of Ms Michele Frost I would like to add what an amazing job she had done to inspire so many young people and to instil a real sense of confidence and self-belief.  Not an easy job, but she made it look very easy. Thank you for being such a simply brilliant Executive Head, you will be very much missed.

Councillor Sally Cameron