A RECORD number of people turned out in Bridport to pay their respects to those who have died for their country.

The town's parade, led by St Swithin's Band, included members of the town's armed forces associations, youth organisations, emergency services and town leaders.

Mayor Geoff Ackerman, who inspected the parade before it set off, said: "We have had a terrific turn out, it is wonderful. I am very pleased evereyone has come out to pay their respects. When we came over to the memorial for the salutes, the pavement was crowded and we had a job getting everybody in the church."

The parade lined up in East Street before making its way down South Street to the war memorial. There the crowds joined in with the two minutes' silence marked by a maroon.

The silence was followed by the Last Post played by Sir John Colfox School student and St Swithin's Band member David Tozer and the wreath laying ceremony when the Royal British Legion Exhortation and the Kohima Epitaph were both said.

Parade Commander Captain Fido Vivian-May, Queen's Royal Lancers (Retired), said: "We had a record turnout on parade. You can see by the number of wreaths, all the front of the war memorial is covered.

"There has also been a record number of people watching from the general public. We are all very proud and love our town of Bridport."

In all 26 wreaths were laid at the war memorial from organisations including the Royal British Legion, Bridport Town Council on behalf of the town, coastguards, police, firefighters, St John Ambulance, Red Cross, Chamber of Trade and Commerce, Royal Air Force Association, Royal Naval Association, Burma Star Association and Devonshire and Dorset Regimental Association.

Among them were tributes to individuals who have died in recent conflicts, including a tribute to Mark Sambles from fellow sea scouts at First West Bay Sea Scouts. He died in the Falklands War.

There was also a tribute to Sgt Dave Wilkinson of the Royal Artillery who was killed in Afghanistan on July 1 this year with the message "You're home now mate."

Among the 20 standards on display were the flag of the United Nations and the standards of the Brownies, Guides, Scouts and Cubs. Youth organisations represented included over 30 Brownies and Guides from Bothenhampton, the Red Cross Cadets, St John Ambulance Badgers, Sea Cadet Corps, Army Cadet Force and Air Training Corps.

Parade marshals WOII Paul Fowler and Staff Sgt Mark Jones of the Queen's Royal Lancers ensured everything ran smoothly.

After the church service the parade made its way back up South Street to Bucky Doo square where the Mayor and civic party took the salute. The mayor's escorts came from 1st West Bay (Mayor's Own) Sea Scouts and Bridport Sea Cadets Corps TS Keppel.