Hundreds remember the fallen at Stoke Gifford ceremony

Posted on Tuesday 18th December 2018 at 10:09 pm by Laura Mortimore

Photo of the wreath layers at the Stoke Gifford Remembrance ceremony.

Sunday 11th November saw hundreds of people attend the Remembrance Day commemorations at the cenotaph on The Green in Stoke Gifford. The turnout is thought to have been one of the largest ever, with police estimating a crowd of between 500 and 600 people.

The service was started by local ministers and included the traditional Act of Remembrance which involved the Exhortation, the Last Post, two minutes silence, Reveille and the reading of the moving Kohima Epitaph taken from the Kohima 2nd Division Memorial.

After the service, a number of wreaths were laid at the cenotaph by members of local youth groups including; Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Rainbows, Brownies and Guides. Flag bearers Leah and Claudia and wreath layers Sienna, Imogen and Ruth represented the Rainbows and Brownies of Stoke Gifford at the service. Alix, leader of the Rainbows said:

“I’m so proud of the girls for representing Rainbows and Girlguiding at the Remembrance service. Leah was an excellent flag bearer, and Sienna and Imogen laid our wreath really well. All the girls painted clay poppies which are now on the memorial – so even if they weren’t able to be there on the day, our Rainbows remembered the fallen.”

For Andrew Phelps, Scout leader, it was an emotional and poignant ceremony as he led his groups to the cenotaph to pay their respects. He said:

“The Remembrance Day parade in Stoke Gifford was a great success and a fitting tribute to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. The 1st Stoke Gifford Scout Group, comprising of two Beaver colonies, two Cub packs and two Scout troops, paraded at The Green in Stoke Gifford after marching with other uniformed groups from the village. The OSR flag was carried by Oliver Dron and the wreath ceremony party included our very own Alison Emsley, in her Scout uniform, laying the wreath for the ladies of Stoke Gifford.”

“The Old School Rooms Scout troop has been researching the fallen on the memorial as part of their Poppy Badge. I’m sure, like me, they were going through the names of each and every one of the brave men from Stoke Gifford who gave their lives so that we could have a better today.”

Wreaths were also laid by many organisations, including the Police, the Parish Council, and the Stoke Gifford Branch of the Royal British Legion. Cllr Brian Allinson, who was there to lay a wreath on behalf of South Gloucestershire Council, was very impressed with the service, saying:

“It was a magnificent turnout by the people of Stoke Gifford. It was so nice to see so many children there. It was very poignant – a very special occasion. Having so many groups there such as the Scouts and Guides made it very special.”

After the laying of the wreaths, children from St Michael’s Primary School placed wooden Remembrance crosses at the war memorial. They had been asked by Stoke Gifford Royal British Legion chairman John Moloney to represent all the countries that sent men to help out in WW1 and also to place the ‘Thank You’ message wreath at the memorial, which they did. Mark Freeman, headteacher of St Michael’s, said:

“We were very pleased to be asked to lay a wreath and crosses at the war memorial on behalf of the children in St Michael’s School. We held a special theme day in school shortly before Remembrance Sunday where everyone made poppies in different styles: these are now on display around the school. Many of the children have been keen to share stories of their grandparents’ and great-grandparents’ experiences in the two World Wars, which has helped bring home the impact these wars had on so many people in our community. The children who were chosen to lay the wreath and crosses were very proud to play their part in the Remembrance Service.”

Once the Remembrance ceremony had finished, many of the people present went on to attend Remembrance services at St Michael’s Church and Stoke Gifford Baptist Church.

Photo of schoolchildren placing wooden crosses in a sand box.

This article originally appeared in the December 2018 issue of the Stoke Gifford Journal news magazine (on pages 6 & 7). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to over 5,000 homes in Stoke Gifford, Little Stoke and Harry Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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