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Festival of Remembrance at The Royal Albert Hall By Tony Motley of Bennetts Funeral Directors, Brentwood, Essex

On August 11th 2011 I received written confirmation that I had been selected to carry the Billericay Branch Royal British Legion Standard at The Festival of Remembrance on 12th November 2011 at The Royal Albert Hall.

We were ordered to be there for 7.00am, so it meant a 4.00am start.  My cab got me there promptly and still in darkness, standard bearers massed from all points of the compass.

Once booked in we were at the mercy (?) of the Garrison Sergeant Major, Welsh Guards, who typically of a Sergeant Majors, had a fearsome reputation but was a great character.  We did two rehearsals on our own (approx 100 standards paraded), then a full rehearsal which seemed to drag.  Matinee show after lunch seemed to fly by, then it was the main evening performance before the Queen.  That seemed to pass quickly too, but it did not diminish the privilege or the emotion of the event or the location.  It only confirmed that we have the finest Armed Forces in the world.

I got back home at about 11.00pm and eventually got to bed knowing that I could sleep until 5.30! on parade again in Billericay at 7.00am and again at 10.30am!!