I attended the funeral recently of a British serviceman killed in Afghanistan. Trooper Robert Pearson who was 22 and was serving with the Queens Royal Lancers came from Grimsby was killed when his vehicle went over a mine.
At the funeral, held at St Mary’s church in Grimsby, what became very obvious was the huge public participation. The street running alongside the church was packed with members of the public who were there to pay their respects.
The local newspapers in Grimsby had announced the funeral and had asked people to show their respects on the day, one paper included a full page picture of Trooper Pearson with a Union Flag superimposed behind him.
The picture shows a member of the public, and, to my knowledge has no connection to Trooper Pearson whatsoever, and yet she takes this picture from her paper and attends the service as a mark of respect.
This was replicated by many of the people who attended the service which was broadcast into the church carpark through loudspeakers. They stood in silent respect holding flowers, this picture from the newspaper, or simply with hands behind their backs. Many cried. All for someone who they didn’t know but still wanted to pay their respects to.
It was a remarkable sight, in this day and age, that so many people took time out from their day to attend.