Remembrance: Hundreds pay their respects

November 28 2018
Remembrance: Hundreds pay their respects

HUNDREDS of people gathered near the War Memorial in St Cuthbert’s Churchyard for the two-minutes’ silence and wreath-laying ceremony on Remembrance Sunday, and lined High Street to watch the annual parade and salute.

Another ceremony was held at the Harry Patch Memorial outside Wells & Mendip Museum where the first wreath was laid by Benjamin Jones, whose great-great-great-uncle was Harry Patch. Also in attendance was Alicia Williams wearing the medals of her great-great-great-grandfather Ted Edwards, who fought at the Somme. It was her grandparents, Alan and Margaret Williams, who instigated the memorial to Harry Patch.

At 11am on Remembrance Sunday, the last of nearly 8,000 poppies made by nearly 4,000 local schoolchildren were planted at The Bishop’s Palace.

Each poppy represented a Somerset serviceman, or someone who served in a Somerset regiment, who lost his life in the First World War.

As he surveyed the poppies, project organiser Dan Vidler, a teacher at Coxley School, said: “It’s a powerful feeling to know they are in their rightful place. Visually it’s exactly what I pictured, but it’s much more than just a visual experience. It’s an incredible feeling. People are being moved by it and how it looks.”

More than 800 people attended a Requiem service in Wells Cathedral in the afternoon, during which poppy petals bearing the names of departed loved ones fell from the Nave roof.

The Dean of Wells, Dr John Davies, said: “My own memories of Remembrancetide were the deep silence on 11/11/18 at 11am. Then the fall of poppies after the moving Requiem. The poppy displays moved many. There were also seminars, a play, a County gathering, bells, a lone piper, a Cloister exhibition, a concert, and much rich music.”

RBL Wells committee

Members of the Royal British Legion Wells committee at the Harry Patch Memorial outside Wells & Mendip Museum

Record sum raised by Poppy Appeal

This year’s Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal has raised a record amount in Wells. Within five days of Remembrance Sunday the total had reached £28,500, already £1,000 up on last year’s record-breaking total.

“With 10 months still to go to the end of the legion’s financial year we know there will be much more money to come in,” said Wells Poppy Appeal organiser Derek Cooper. “Thank you to the public for your amazing donations and generosity.”

This year’s Poppy Appeal came as the nation marked 100 years since the end of the First World War. Derek said that the Royal British Legion in Wells had been overwhelmed with the hard work of so many to make the commemoration special.

He thanked the city council, mayor, town clerk and Town Hall staff; St Cuthbert’s Church for the November 11 Civic Service and over £1,000 collected in donations; the carnival committee for manning road closures; Dan Vidler and all involved in the Somerset Poppies project; Wells Cathedral for events there including the Garden of Remembrance sponsored by Sally Cooper at Wells Film Centre; city churches, schools and businesses; the hundreds of people who manned supermarket stalls and collected in High Street; the market manager; and more than 100 shops that had collecting tins.

“I must also thank the eight or so people on my hard-working committee who have been with me all the year planning and ensuring things happened – you know who you are and you are all amazing,” said Derek.