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Islington Remembrance Day parade: Wreaths laid as Veterans Association tells of its year-round work

PUBLISHED: 14:42 14 November 2016 | UPDATED: 14:51 14 November 2016

Cpt Dennis Sharrocks leads 
Islington Veterans’ Association down Upper Street in the Remembrance parade. Picture: Chris Wood

Cpt Dennis Sharrocks leads Islington Veterans’ Association down Upper Street in the Remembrance parade. Picture: Chris Wood

13-11-2016. Islington Remembrance Sunday. Islington Veterans’ Association with Dennis Sha

Remembrance isn’t just for November. After Sunday’s parade, James Morris reports on Islington Veterans Association’s year-round work.

Remembrance Sunday in Islington Green. Picture: Chris WoodRemembrance Sunday in Islington Green. Picture: Chris Wood

Hundreds of people lined Highbury Corner, Upper Street and Islington Green for the borough’s Remembrance parade on Sunday.

It’s exactly what Cpt Dennis Sharrocks, chairman of Islington Veterans Association, expected.

But speaking after the Armistice Day service at the town hall on Friday, he told of a broader mission: to help veterans and commemorate the fallen throughout the year – not just in November.

Islington Veterans Association formed in 2008, and is also open to people who have worked in the emergency services.

Cpt Dennis Sharrocks, chairman of Islington Veterans Association. Picture: Chris WoodCpt Dennis Sharrocks, chairman of Islington Veterans Association. Picture: Chris Wood

Cpt Sharrocks, 50, lives off Caledonian Road and served for 29 years, ending in the Princes of Wales Regiment. “Our association is an alternative for veterans,” he said.

“As members of the public, we can all speak to our MPs, or the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, when we have a problem. But the nature of those systems means they will always be inundated. That’s not a criticism, that’s just life.

“When you’ve been a soldier, there’s a certain camaraderie that you can only feel with other people who have also been in the forces.

“It gives them that extra confidence when speaking to us about whatever issue they may have.

Remembrance Sunday in Islington Green. Picture: Chris WoodRemembrance Sunday in Islington Green. Picture: Chris Wood

“Many soldiers are very proud people who won’t ask for help from anyone else. They are used to that – it’s in their nature.

“But in most cases, they will have fewer problems asking for help from another veteran.”

At Sunday’s parade, Cpt Sharrocks and his fellow veterans appeared alongside the likes of Islington South and Finsbury MP Emily Thornberry; Mayor of Islington Cllr Kat Fletcher; Laura Alvarez (who laid a wreath at the war memorial in the absence of her husband, Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn, who was at the Cenotaph); cadets and hundreds of others.

He adds: “Turnout is always fantastic at Remembrance services in Islington. It shows how many people care.

Islington South and Finsbury MP Emily Thornberry, right, and Laura Alvarez, right, lay wreaths at the Islington Green war memorial. Ms Alvarez was laying a wreath on behalf of husband Jeremy Corbyn, the Islington North MP and Labour leader who was at the Cenotaph. Picture: Chris WoodIslington South and Finsbury MP Emily Thornberry, right, and Laura Alvarez, right, lay wreaths at the Islington Green war memorial. Ms Alvarez was laying a wreath on behalf of husband Jeremy Corbyn, the Islington North MP and Labour leader who was at the Cenotaph. Picture: Chris Wood

“But Remembrance is the only event truly in the national eye. We do things in Islington throughout the year to mark events that go under the radar.

“We commemorate Armed Forces Day and Anzac Day, for example. We also hold a veterans’ breakfast where soldiers or service people talk to each other about their experiences.

“People always come up to us and ask about our events. So in that sense, we are achieving our purpose in reminding people conflict happens, and happened, throughout the year, not just in November.”

Islington Veterans Association, which has 37 members, meets on the first Tuesday of the month at the Cally Resource Centre in Copenhagen Street. For more, visit islingtonveterans.org.uk.

Remembrance Sunday in Islington Green. Picture: Chris WoodRemembrance Sunday in Islington Green. Picture: Chris Wood

For more pictures from Sunday’s parade, see our print edition – out on Thursday.

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