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Burnham community observe two-minute silence to mark 75th anniversary of VJ Day

Community members in Burnham observed a two-minute silence and rang hand bells to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VJ Day on Saturday.

The day marked 75 years since Japan’s surrender during the Second World War.

In St Peter’s churchyard, Samson Kuponiyi, who is a lay worker at the church and is due to become the new curate next month, led readings and prayers, before stopping at 11am to observe the two-minute silence.

St Peter’s bell ringer Cliff Blundell and his grandchildren Toby and Hannah rang hand bells afterwards.

The socially-distanced event remembered the 49 Burnham men who were killed in the war.

Cliff and his grandchildren honoured former St Peter’s tower bell ringer Peter Blamey, who died in the war, by calling his name and ringing hand bells by his graveside.

Cliff said: “I think it went very well.

“I feel very satisfied at being part of it, if only because I didn’t have any active part in celebrations in 1945.

“So, in a way, taking part in this was linking me to the original celebrations 75 years ago.”

In Burnham Park, residents, parish councillors and the Burnham Royal British Legion all gathered at the war memorial for a socially-distanced ceremony.

About 50 to 60 attendees observed a two-minute silence.

Two dedications were also given, followed by a speech by Burnham Royal British Legion president Bob Slater.

Jackie Slater, secretary and welfare officer at the Burnham Royal British Legion, said: “I was very honoured to be a part of this memorable occasion.

“It exceeded my expectations, not only by the turnout but the fact everyone observed the social distancing.”

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