Remember together, 100 years on

November 02 2018

A SERIES of major events in Staple Hill and Downend will mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.

Hundreds of volunteers have spent months planning, fundraising and creating tributes to the millions who died in the conflict, which ended on November 11, 1918.

The first signs of this year’s centenary commemorations are the 600 poppies planted around the centre of Downend. They include 173 at Christ Church marked with the names of servicemen from the area who gave their lives in the conflict.

The poppies have been painted by local groups, including schools and clubs.

November 11 itself will see the return of Staple Hill’s Remembrance Day parade, which had to be cancelled last year after closure of the local branch of the Royal British Legion.

It was revived thanks to a crowdfunding campaign organised by the Staple Hill Regeneration Partnership, together with the Women's Section of the Royal British Legion and the Staple Hill Salvation Army, which raised the £600 needed in days.

Staple Hill councillor and regeneration partnership chair Ian Boulton said: "The parade had been part of the local remembrance calendar for so many years, and local residents really missed it and felt strongly that it should continue. So a Crowdfunding campaign was launched to raise the money needed to cover the costs – and we hit our target within days.”

This year’s parade will start from the You Foundation building on Page Road at 10.30am and progress along Broad Street to Page Park in time for a service and two minute silence at 11am.

Later on Remembrance Sunday, Downend will host a beacon-lighting ceremony as part of the nationwide Battle’s Over commemoration of the centenary of the Armistice.

It is being organised as a community project by Downend Men In Sheds, Downend and Bromley Heath Parish Council and other volunteer organisations, including Downend Knit and Natter and the 28th Kingswood, 1st Downend Scouts.

The event starts with a short service at the Scout war memorial on Badminton Road at 5.30pm. At 5.45pm a procession will move off to King George V Playing Fields, where, at 6pm there will be a ceremonial laying of poppies.

There will then be a reading by a Downend School pupil, followed by the Last Post. 

At 7pm a beacon – one of 1,000 around the UK – will be lit, followed by a peal of bells from churches in the area.

There will also be a Festival of Remembrance at the Salvation Army in Broad Street, Staple Hill, from 5pm on Remembrance Sunday.