THE PARACHUTE REGIMENTAL ASSOCIATION 


(Nottingham Branch) 


Charity Nubmer:1124238 





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St Mary's Church - Memorial Stone Ceremony

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St MARY'S CHURCH Memorial Stone Unveiling


On Sunday the 15th of April 2012, a special ceremony was held at St Mary's Church in Nottingham. This had been eighteen months in the planning and was to celebrate the lives of all members of the Parachute Regimental Association (Nottingham Branch) that had died since the branch was formed around 50 years ago. (Branch President) John Needham and (Secretary) Bill Cumming had the task of designing and ordering the stone through the stone mason. They also had to agree the placement of the memorial stone and the ceremony. Over the eighteen month period of organization, there was lots of help from Reverend Stephen Morris, as the go between for getting the permissions for the stones placement and the ceremony within the Church diosise.

Invites were sent out to the Leicester, Newark and Derby branches of the PRA, as well as our close friends from the Cropwell Bishop Scouts, "Pegasus Troop". Our own branch members and families were also in attendance. The ceremony went without a hitch. The PRA's National bugle player, Stuart McNair of the Newark Branch did himself proud when he played the last post. His abilities are second to none.

The unveiling on the day was by one of our WW2 Para's John Coleman. John was assisted by Stan Hopkins, one of our longest serving members, and Stan had the honour of laying the memorial wreath at the foot of the memorial stone. (Chairman) Michael O'Connor was the parade Marshall on the day, and made sure things ran to plan. (Secretary) Bill Cumming stood guard at the door, and our Standard Bearer, George Worthington did the honour's with the branch standard, along with Derby Branch Standard bearer. (President) John Needham read the Airborne Prayer, while Reverend Stephen Morris performed the service. Finally John Needham thanked everyone for coming and explained that our old standard was laid here approximately eight years ago.

Afterwards a buffet was supplied for all. St Mary's did a great spread, and this gave us all a chance to meet up with our friends from other branches. I had some interesting conversations with some of our older Para's in attendance. We were lucky to have some of the founding fathers of the Parachute Regiment at the ceremony, including former members of No.2 Commando who went on to form the original Parachute Regiments formed at Hardwick Hall's Para Depot. One was the Derby Branch President, who started his military service with No.2 Commando, followed by 11 SAS, and finally 1 PARA, where he served with his brother. He escaped the battle of Arnhem by swimming the Rhine. His brother was not so lucky however, as he was captured. Another former Army Commando was Leicester Branch Secretary, Lez Nicholson. Lez now well into his eighties is well known to many of the Branches, organizing the 10 Para Memorial at Somerby in Leicestershire. He, like many of the old and bold has a great sense of humor, and like many of his generation are National treasures when it comes to the history of the Regiment. They forged the shape of what the Parachute Regiment and it's fighting spirit has become over the past 70 years.


The day was a very special occasion and we thank everyone for their support.


Mark Holding (Treasurer)


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 The new Nottingham Branch Memorial in place.