Leader's Column by Cllr Toby Savage.

Like thousands of South Gloucestershire residents and millions more across the country, I paid my respects on Sunday to the many veterans and current servicemen and women at one of the many Remembrance Services taking place in our communities.

It is always a compelling and inspiring experience, with the emotionally charged purpose of the event supplemented by the uplifting feeling of so many people, of all ages and from all backgrounds, coming together.

In South Gloucestershire, dozens of Remembrance Services took place on Sunday, ranging from small services to grand parades, remembering those who have fought to defend this country’s freedom for more than a century. While many did not return home to their families, having made the ultimate sacrifice, their efforts meant many more could live, and it is something I am reminded of every year when standing amongst a crowd in silence wearing the poppy, and more recently since becoming Leader of the Council, with the privilege of placing a wreath.

Of course, while this important date and time is one that is forever linked to our servicemen and women, it should not be the only time we think about those who put themselves in harm’s way to defend our country.South Gloucestershire has a large military and civilian armed forces population and the council has been supportive of its armed forces for many years.

Our Armed Forces Community Covenant, which is made between the Council, the charitable and voluntary sectors and the serving and former members of the armed forces and their families working and residing in the district, is designed to recognise and remember the sacrifices made by members of this community.

Next year is the 75th anniversary of VE Day, and I look forward to seeing many more residents at events, supporting the brave men and women in our armed forces.