Teenager marches in Skegness to mark special birthday

Penney Williams with the wreath she laid at the memorial in Skegness. ANL-181211-161234001
Penney Williams with the wreath she laid at the memorial in Skegness. ANL-181211-161234001

A teenager born at the 11th second of the 11th minute of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month 15 years ago, took the most important steps of her life when she marched on Remembrance Day - marking 100 years since the end of the First World War.

Penney Williams joined the Armistice Parade in Skegness, laying the wreath she had made at the memorial at St Matthew’s Church, where the name of her great-great uncle Harold Sutton Stamper is written in stone along with others from Skegness who lost their lives in battle.

Penney Williams with the wreath she laid at the memorial in Skegness. ANL-181211-161234001

Penney Williams with the wreath she laid at the memorial in Skegness. ANL-181211-161234001

Both Penney and her mother Debbie, live in Horncastle but spend lots of time with her grandparents in Skegness.

Celebrating her 15th birthday, Penney said: “I wanted to do this because my great-great uncle died on the war and it’s a tribute to him.

“I was also surprised when looking into history that some of the soldiers who died were only the same age as me.

“It is important that young people remember as well - so this never happens again.”

Mum Debbie said she is very proud of Penney, especially as she suffers a form of autism and dyslexia. “This has been a big thing for her but she really wanted to do it. She is very creative and practical and has worked really hard on the wreath and the wording which is a tribute to her great-great uncle.

“She got quite upset when she realised many of the young men who died were only the same age as her and couldn’t understand how that could be. I had to say that’s how it was then.”

The Standard first met up with Debbie on her eighth birthday. Debbie said: “I knew she was going to be born on November 11 but when the nurse rushed to me while I was still at the hospital and said ‘did I realise the time she had been born?’ I was shocked to learn what it was. We think she takes after her great-grandmother. Her birthday is on the twelfth day of the twelfth month of 
1912.”

After Remembrance Day, a number of activities have been planned for Penney, who also takes part in lots of fundraising activities for the Poppy Appeal, to celebrate her 15th birthday. “We have lots of surprises planned,” said Debbie. “We like to make birthdays last a week.”