Centenary Field launch at Memorial Park

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A special event to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War took place at the Memorial Park in Herne Bay this morning (Wednesday 7 November).

The Memorial Park is Herne Bay’s Fields in Trust World War One Centenary Field, and the town’s Remembrance Day commemorations take place there every year.

To mark the centenary this year, the city council has been working with a number of organisations in the town on a variety of projects, which culminated in the morning’s activities.

Children from Herne Bay Junior School have created dozens of beautiful poppies to go on the railings around the memorial, in a joint initiative with local arts organisation Beach Creative. The pupils took part in workshops to make the poppies out of mouldable acrylic, which have then been attached to the railings.

In addition, the event saw the launch of a new First World War centenary trail that has been installed around the park, with interpretation panels explaining the impact the war had on the Herne Bay community and families. The trail marks the dedication of the Memorial Park as a Fields in Trust World War One Centenary Field.

The trail was put together by the Herne Bay Historical Records Society, who wrote the panels and sourced the accompanying images, with children from Herne Bay Junior School helping to write the questions for the trail.

And the family of Harry Wells, who was born in Herne Bay in 1888 and received the Victoria Cross in recognition of his gallantry in the face of the enemy, was present to plant a tree in his memory.

Guests from many of the groups involved were joined by the Sheriff of Canterbury, Cllr Jeanette Stockley, to reflect on those who never returned from the First World War with the iconic and nationwide ‘There But Not There’ tribute to the fallen.

They also took time to explore the park and trail, inspect the poppies and plant crocuses, with the help of children from the nearby Avenue Nursery and Forest School.

And afterwards, there was a visit to Beach Creative in Beach Street to view the First World War ‘Ten Million Grains of Rice’ exhibition.

Cllr Stockley said: “It was a very emotional morning as we gathered to remember all those who lost their life in the First World War and subsequent conflicts. So many people have contributed to the various projects and seeing it all come together made for such a moving event.

“We would particularly like to thank the Herne Bay Historical Records Society, Herne Bay Junior School, Beach Creative and the Royal British Legion for everything they have done to make this happen, backed up with the support of council officers over many months.

“At this especially important time, I would urge the town’s residents to take the time to visit our Fields in Trust World War One Centenary Field and pay their own respects to the fallen.”

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