Gazette & Herald Column: Beacon lighting ceremony proved to be moving sight

This weekend I was delighted to join hundreds of veterans, serving members of our Armed Forces, their families and those who wanted to pay their respects at events throughout the Constituency to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War and remember all those who have sacrificed their lives for their country.  It has been an incredibly moving few days, locally and in Westminster, and I would like to personally thank everyone who helped to organise a local event and all those who attended.

I started the commemorations with a day of tree planting on Friday, starting with the Remembrance and Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy planting at Bulford Kiwi School, where we planted hazel, silver birch, and rowan saplings and marked the occasion with a short Act of Remembrance whilst a bugler from 5 Rifles played the Last Post. Then it was off to Pewsey Hill, where we planted 33 trees to honour the 33 Pewsey men who gave their lives in the First World War, and I had the honour of unveiling the commemorative sarsen stone which stands at the centre of the cross. To further mark the occasion, a time capsule was buried, containing items selected by classes at Pewsey Primary School, and I added a jar of honey from my own hive and a House of Commons Order Paper.

It was another busy day of Remembrance events on Sunday, starting early at the Ludgershall Act of Remembrance and opening of the Centenary Garden. Soldiers from 26 Engineers led the parade to St James’ Church and then to the War Memorial, where I laid a Parliamentary Wreath amongst the other tributes, while other Parliamentary Wreaths were laid on my behalf by Councillors at other ceremonies across the constituency. We then made our way to the newly renovated Centenary Garden which has undergone a transformation inspired by the Ludgershall Great War Commemoration Group which had also organised a brilliant exhibition telling the story of “Ludgershall at War”. I was then delighted to attend the ‘For King and Country’ Commemoration Concert in Devizes, where the Devizes Town Band, Children’s Choir, St John’s Church Choir, Wharf Theatre Actors and George Wilding treated us to a spectacular and poignant production telling the story of the Great War. Finally, it was over to the beacon lighting ceremony on Marlborough Common, where we joined hundreds across the Constituency and throughout the country in lighting beacons to honour the fallen, a very moving sight which I will always remember.