Hundreds turn out in Leeds for huge Remembrance Sunday parade

People of every age turned out in their hundreds on Sunday to remember those who lost their lives to war.

By Susie Beever
Sunday, 10th November 2019, 5:00 pm

The Remembrance Sunday parade marched to Victoria Gardens in Leeds city centre as the crowds gathered round the war memorial, with leaders from the city's various communities and public services laying wreaths.

Among those laying wreaths was 96-year-old Antonii Grudzień, a Polish war veteran who is believed to be Leeds' oldest poppy seller with the Royal British Legion.

One of the few remaining veterans from the Second World War, Mr Grudzień said it was a "huge honour" to lay a wreath.

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Centre: Polish war veteran Antonii Grudzie, 96, from the Royal British Legion is one of Leeds' oldest poppy sellers. Picture: James Hardisty

Mr Grudzień was a machine gun operator with the Polish Army's first regiment in Bologna, Italy, and came to Britain as a refugee following the end of the war as he faced persecution in his home country due to the Communist regime.

He said: "It is only in Leeds that there is a Polish branch of the Royal British Legion, of which I am the President, as well as one of the few veterans left.

"For the last two weeks I have been at in Tesco for six hours every day with my wife selling poppies. It is a huge honour."

Tributes at the service were led by Leeds Lord Mayor Eileen Taylor, who was joined by children's mayor Wania Ahmad.

Remembrance Sunday service at Victoria Gardens war memorial, Leeds city centre

Among the others laying wreaths were Leader of Leeds City Council Judith Blake, West Yorkshire Police & Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson and Recorder of Leeds Judge Guy Kearl QC, as well as various faith and community leaders in the city.

Manmohan Singh, of the Leeds Sikh Community, laid a wreath in tribute to his father Narajen Singh who fought with the Sikh Regiment in the Second World War.

Mr Singh, 69, said: "It's a great honour for me to lay a wreath in his memory.

"Last year, the Sikh community donated a statue of a soldier which is now in Leeds Museum."

Remembrance Sunday service at Victoria Gardens war memorial, Leeds city centre

Prayers at the service were led by the Rev Canon Sam Corley, Rector of Leeds, who paid tribute to all victims of war and terrorism across the world.

A two minutes' silence was observed before the various representatives laid tributes at the base of the war memorial.