GALLERY: St Mary’s Church, Whittlesey, hosts Armed Forces Day service to remember those lost in conflict

17:06 27 June 2014

Armed Forces Day/WW1 service at St Mary's church Whittlesey.

Armed Forces Day/WW1 service at St Mary's church Whittlesey.

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More than 100 people gathered in Whittlesey to pay tribute to all those who serve in Britain’s armed forces and remember those who have lost their lives.

Armed Forces Day/WW1 service at St Mary's church Whittlesey.Armed Forces Day/WW1 service at St Mary's church Whittlesey.

They took part in a moving service at St Mary’s Church, Whittlesey, organised by Fenland District Council, to mark both this year’s Armed Forces Day and the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.

It included a poignant account written by Councillor Ken Mayor, chairman of the council, of the day he finally found the grave of his grandfather, who was killed in action in 1918.

The suffering of troops in the First World War was highlighted by readings of two famous poems by Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon.

The mood of the time was also brought home by several hymns, including Oh Valiant Hearts, described by the Rev Nigel Whitehouse, rector of St Mary’s, as “one of the most evocative of the period”.

Armed Forces Day/WW1 service at St Mary's church Whittlesey.Armed Forces Day/WW1 service at St Mary's church Whittlesey.

A lighter note was introduced by organist Paul Turner’s spirited rendition of a medley of popular tunes from the era, including Pack Up Your Troubles and the Londonderry Air.

The service began and ended with a parade of standards by the Royal British Legion’s branches from Fenland’s four market towns, the Wisbech branch of the Royal Air Force Association and the Whittlesey branch of the Cambridgeshire Regiment.

Distinguished guests at the service included Linda Fairbrother, the High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire, and Peter Horrell, Deputy Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire. The Mayors of Whittlesey, March and Wisbech also attended.

Afterwards, light refreshments were served at Childer’s Sports and Social Club.

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