Peterborough, Whittlesey and Stamford pull out the stops for First World War Remembrance tributes

Peterborough and the surrounding areas pulled out all the stops to pay a fine tribute on the 100th anniversary of the First World War.

Tuesday, 13th November 2018, 5:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 13th November 2018, 4:37 pm
WW1 decorations at a garden in Western Avenue, Dogsthorpe

Churches and schools were among those to make huge efforts to commemorate Armistice Day in this most special of years.

Friday and Saturday saw ‘Naming the Men’ take place in Cathedral Square led by Charron Pugsley-Hill, a First World War commemoration artist.

During the conflict 1,177 men and one woman from Peterborough died either in service or as a result of enemy action.

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WW1 decorations at a garden in Western Avenue, Dogsthorpe

The event saw each of their names read aloud to ensure that each person was remembered as an individual who had family, friends and connections to the city.

Fulbridge Academy in New England welcomed 101-year-old Veteran Harry Jeffery for its First World War assembly on Friday, with guests including Peterborough City Council leader Cllr John Holdich and his wife Barbara, former councillor Charles Swift and Szymon Szaran from the Polish Embassy in London.

Pupils even made their own Cenotaph for the assembly, and there were readings and sounds of classic wartime songs.

Scott Biggs, learning lead, said: “As it was a special anniversary the children put a lot of work into the planning and development of this service and the children contacted the different embassies of the countries that were involved in either the first or second world war for information.

A waterfall of poppies from pupils at Highlees Primary School

“We were delighted to receive several pieces of information that helped our service and we were also surprised that one embassy was able to attend the service.”

Highlees Primary School in Westwood held a minute’s silence in school with the children working together on a whole school project to create a stunning waterfall of poppies and wreath in honour of all the fallen soldiers.

Jo Stroud, head of school, said: “It is important for the children to understand the meaning of Remembrance Day, particularly this year where we commemorate 100 years since the end of World War One.”

On Friday pupils from both Thomas Deacon Academy in Queen’s Gardens and Queen Katharine Academy in Mountsteven Avenue met at the former to hold a Remembrance Service, with pupils gathering on the balconies to watch the Combined Cadet Force parade behind the Colour Guard to remember the fallen.

The Thomas Deacon Academy art installation at the cathedral

A two minute silence was held for reflection and remembrance, during which time poppies fell from the balconies.

Throughout October pupils at Thomas Deacon Academy worked on an art installation in recognition of 100 years of since the Armistice which was displayed in Peterborough Cathedral.

The artwork saw a river of poppies flowing from the memorial site of the school’s founder, Thomas Deacon.

On both Thursday and Friday Key Stage 2 primary school pupils from across the city took part in the World War One Centenary Schools’ Singing Days at The Cresset.

The Remembrance Service at Thomas Deacon Academy

The pupils took part in a variety of sessions with a team of professional vocal coaches and musicians, and they were joined by a live band in the afternoon to perform the songs they had learned.

The event was funded by Arts Council England, led by William Prideaux and delivered by Peterborough Sings! on behalf of Peterborough Music Hub and Peterborough City Council.

Last Friday also saw a Festival of Remembrance at the theatre with award-winning choirs Peterborough Male Voice Choir, Peterborough Voices and Peterborough Youth Choir presenting a moving evening of words and choral music in support of the Poppy Appeal.

Sporting teams in Peterborough also paid their tributes over the weekend.

Peterborough Rugby Club’s junior teams came together before their matches on Sunday with club chairman Alan Graham reading out a list of the club’s fallen in a moving few minutes.

Poppies were also put on the sleeves of the jerseys.

The Peterborough Penguins women’s ice hockey team also laid a wreath before their match against Slough Sirens, while a minute’s silence was held before Peterborough United’s FA Cup tie at Bromley.

Fire engines, police vehicles and ambulances across the county all displayed poppy stickers, while MP for North West Cambridgeshire was one of 120 MPs and Peers who took part in a 12 hour static bike ride to raise funds for the Poppy Appeal.

Meanwhile, one house in Western Avenue, Dogsthorpe, even had its own Remembrance decorations in the garden, which included poppies and white silhouettes of soldiers.

RAF Wittering and Whittlesey

RAF Wittering took part in the commemoration events in Peterborough on Remembrance Sunday having spent hours in drill rehearsals the day before.

Warrant Officer Nigel Gurney, the acting station warrant officer at RAF Wittering, said: “2018 is not only the 100th anniversary of the first armistice back in 1918, but also the centenary of the Royal Air Force, and it really seems to have struck a chord. We were just overwhelmed by the level of support in Peterborough.”

In Stamford record crowds lined Broad Street as the parade from RAF Wittering was brought to attention outside Browne’s Hospital.

Group Captain Tony Keeling, station commander at RAF Wittering, said: “As ever, the people of Stamford have done us proud. On Remembrance Sunday we call to mind the sacrifices made by those from all three services in the cause of freedom.

“Many people here serve, and have served, in the Royal Air Force, and we rightly commemorate that century of service to this country.”

Remembrance events also took place in Whittlesey, Coates, Eastrea and Turves.

On the Friday, approximately 300 pupils gathered together from five schools in the Whittlesey area for a Remembrance service at St Mary’s Churchwhere they laid wreaths and shared readings.

The children also bowed their heads and held up their poppies, creating a ‘field of poppies’.

Philippa Millard also sent in a photo of Veterans Bernard and Bill. She said: “They were instrumental in the window display we did at our Salvation Army shop in Broadway. It was an honour to stand with them on such a day.”