Proud moment for ex-soldier

Chris Velone will carry The Standard for the Standish British Legion at The Royal Albert Hall
Chris Velone will carry The Standard for the Standish British Legion at The Royal Albert Hall
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A WIGAN soldier is set to carry a standard at the Remembrance Day parade in London.

Chris Velone, 46, from Standish has been invited by the Royal British Legion to carry the flag - known as the Royal Standard of the UK - at the parade at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Saturday.

Mr Velone was a driver for the Royal Engineers Corps for 22 years and worked his way up the ranks to become a sergeant,

He left in 2005 after serving in Germany, Northern Ireland, Maidstone and Chester and is now a driver for United Utilities.

He joined the Standish branch of the Royal British Legion eight years ago and soon become the standard bearer and vice chairman for the group.

Five years ago he carried the standard at the national ceremony and has been invited ever since.

He said: “When I moved to Standish, the branch was looking for someone to unveil the memorial stone in the garden and so I took the honour and joined the group.

“Unfortunately the standard bearer at the time died and I agreed to undertake that role, which means any ceremonial duties such as funerals and remembrance parades in the village I carry the standard on a pole and lead the parade to the church.

“The honour we all look forward to is to go to the Albert Hall for the remembrance parades.

“Nobody else seems to want to go, because we have to be at London for 8am, with rehearsals until 1pm and two ceremonies before you make your own way home again, but I am always up for going.

“I feel highly honoured to take the standard down to London and being able to go and parade in front of everyone.

“We are all on show. People watch out for the Chelsea Pensioners, bereaved wives and the branch standard bearers and everyone stands and claps.

“Having served in the forces for 22 years it is good to see how the Royal British Legion remembers the sacrifces so many have made as well as the practial work it does for the forces.”

And after the final ceremony, Mr Velone, a father-of-two, will drive home to take part in the remembrance parade in Standish on Sunday.

For full details of the Remembrance Day parades in Wigan borough this weekend, see tomorrow’s Evening Post.