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Tiny standard bearer carries flag at remembrance service for new generation

Mollie Stonelake carries the specially-made miniature standard Photo: Royal British Legion/PA

A seven-year-old girl is carrying the flag of remembrance for a new generation – thanks to a specially-made miniature standard.

Mollie Stonelake went on her first parade aged five and will be taking part in a service on Sunday in her home town of Torpoint in Cornwall.

Her parents, Mark and Donna Stonelake, have both served in the military – her father’s left leg was amputated after his vehicle hit a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.

She is a pupil at Torpoint Nursery and Infant School, where children take it in turns to carry the miniature standard at local remembrance-themed events.

Mollie Stonelake with her parents Donna and Mark Stonelake, who have both served in the Armed Forces Credit: Royal British Legion/PA

They carry a third-sized standard bearing the name MKC Heroes, referring to the Military Kids Club organisation that supports the children of servicemen and women and their relatives.

The standard, also featuring the name of the school, comes with a set of small white gauntlet gloves.

Mollie’s father, Mark Stonelake, 34, was serving as a gunner in 29 Commando Regiment, Royal Artillery, when he suffered serious injuries in the IED blast in December 2008.

Her mother, Donna Stonelake, 32, is a former Royal Navy Able Rating and served on HMS Montrose as a Communicator.

“She loves it,” Mrs Stonelake, also mother to Grace, nine, and three-year-old Olivia, said.

“She is quite quiet so it is nice to see her doing a front role. There is a lot of pride when we see her.

“She has grown up with it. She will ask us ‘what forces were you in’ and we will say ‘Navy and Army’. We always go to the Remembrance service.”

Mr Stonelake added: “It is great to see her on parade.”

Mollie has carried the standard a number of times, including last Remembrance and in May during a ceremony to rededicate the Royal British Legion’s Torpoint & District Branch’s full-size standard.

Pupils also taking part in the school’s Forces Friends group have held the standard during civic parades and even took it to the Naval War Memorial on Plymouth Hoe.

Colin Prideaux, branch chairman of Royal British Legion’s Torpoint & District Branch, said: “They are our future – literally our future.

“It is absolutely fantastic when you see them. Their enthusiasm is unbelievable. The First World War generation made sacrifices for everyone, the new generation and the old.”

Mr Prideaux, 74, served as a captain in the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry in the 1960s and 1970s.

Susanne Archard, the Royal British Legion’s area manager for Devon and Cornwall said: “It’s fantastic that in this centenary year Remembrance is being embraced by people of all ages, across the nation.

“We hope that others, both old and young, will follow in Mollie’s footsteps and take a moment to reflect and say thank you to all those who have sacrificed in service of our country.”