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PICTURES: Saluting the brave at Armed Forces Day in St Helens
11:14am Friday 6th July 2012 in News
Young tenor Tom Loughlin, son of former Saints and Great Britain international player Paul, performed Nessun Dorma. Pictures by Bernard Platt
OUTSTANDING vocal performances by emerging young singers Izzy Wood and Tom Loughlin enriched an emotional parade celebrating Armed Forces Day.
Ex-servicemen, troops, cadets and other organisations joined civic dignitaries at this year’s event in Victoria Square.
Flag waving pensioners mixed with children to show their support and appreciation for all those who have served their country.
Music from Valley Brass and an enchanting version of Amazing Grace by De La Salle student Izzy added gusto to a ceremony that was rich on patriotism.
The high spot though was the performance of 15-year-old tenor Tom Loughlin from Garswood, whose mighty version of ‘Nessun Dorma’ crackled with emotion.
Tom, son of former Saints and Great Britain rugby league international Paul, followed that up with an stirring version of the national anthem.
The contribution of the talented youngsters added to a spectacle that drew several hundred onlookers, including Catherine Needle, the mother of Irish Guardsman, Christopher Davies, who was killed in Afghanistan.
Leading the service, Reverend Gary McGowan asked the crowds to reflect on those engaged in peacekeeping, anti-terrorism missions and wars overseas, particularly those fighting in Afghanistan.
Geoff Cassell, of the Thatto Heath branch of the Royal British Legion, said: “There will always be a need for the Armed Forces because of the world we live in.”
Dignitaries included Mayor and Mayoress of St Helens, Councillor Geoff Almond and Mrs Jean Almond, and Deputy Leader of St Helens Council, Barrie Grunewald.
Following a service, armed forces organisations set up stalls in Victoria Square for a family event – telling people what they do and how others can get involved.