London UK – The Memorial Gates Committee held its fifth annual wreath laying ceremony on Friday 9th November 2007 at the Memorial Gates on Constitution Hill. The ceremony was attended by over 200 people and saw dignitaries like Lord Karan Bilimoria, Lady Thatcher and The Bishop of London lay wreaths to pay special tribute to the five million men and women from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Africa and the Caribbean who volunteered to serve with the Armed Forces of Britain during the First and Second World Wars.
Sadly, Baroness Shreela Flather, JP DL, Patron of the Memorial Gates Committee, was unable to attend, for the first time in the five years since the gates were erected, due to health problems. Her husband spoke on her behalf and expressed gratitude at having Lady Thatcher and her husband, Dennis Thatcher pay tribute to the veterans.
Lord Karan Bilimoria Chairman Cobra Beer and Chairman of the Memorial Gates Committee, in his speech, said: “We are gathered here today five years after the inauguration of the Memorial Gates by Her Majesty the Queen to remember the sacrifice, the courage and the contribution of remarkable men and women. In the name of freedom, in the name of our freedom, they made the ultimate and most selfless sacrifice. For that we join today in remembrance and in gratitude.”
The Bishop of London also spoke about remembering those who served over the last century. “Some died for the people they loved and for their beliefs, which they trusted, and we honour them and we give thanks for their example. They did their duty and in doing so, they entered the realm of the undying spirit.”
Also present were: Lieutenant Tulbahadur Pun VC; Johnson Bakari VC; Lord Inge; Mr Abdul Basit, Pakistan’s Deputy High Commissioner in London; H.E. Mr Basil O’Brien CMG, High Commissioner of the Bahamas; Brigadier General Belal Uddin Mahmood, Defence Adviser, Bangladesh High Commission; Viscount Slim; Brigadier General Lindile Yam, Defence Adviser High Commission for the Republic of South Africa; Field Marshal Sir John Chapple, GCB CBE DL; The Rt. Hon. Bob Ainsworth MP, Minister of State for the Armed Forces; The Rt. Revd. & Rt. Hon. Richard Chartres DD FSA; The Rt. Hon. Baroness Amos; Baroness Uddin, as well as veterans and cadets.
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