Emotional service to mark outbreak of WW1 under the lime trees of Cradley

Emotional service to mark outbreak of WW1 under the lime trees of Cradley

The parade is piped into the churchyard. Picture by Phil Loach.

Hymns under the lime trees of Cradley: Picture by Phil Loach.

Norman Catton lowers the standard as Last Post is played in Cradley. Picture by Phil Loach.

Bishop Christopher Mayfield leads the service. Picture by Phil Loach.

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UNDER the 60 lime trees planted to mark the war dead of Cradley a memorial marking the outbreak of World War One was held on Monday.

The memorial cross in the graveyard of St Peter's Church, Cradley, was the perfect setting for the service which was attended by over 100 people.

A lone bagpiper led the procession from the church to the memorial cross as cadets and veterans marched behind him.

Retired Bishop Christopher Mayfield conducted the emotional service which included a roll call of those who made the ultimate sacrifice from Cradley.

Young and old read out the names as poppies were scattered across the churchyard as members from community groups bowed their head in prayer.

Bishop Mayfield said: "This was an exceptional service which hopefully demonstrate the sacrifices made in war and also help us treat one another more peacefully."

The churchyard at St Peter's Church has been transformed this year.

Volunteers from Cradley and District Service Association, which was established in 1919 and predates the Royal British Legion, have restored graves of those lost in conflict.

Originally there were only thought to be 12 graves but research has shown there is in fact 26 in the churchyard.

Norman Catton, from the association, said: "It was a wonderful service today and it was great to see so many young people here.

"We are very proud of the restoration of our war graves and we are hoping the people of Cradley keep them tidy for years to come."

Reverend Katryn Leclézio, vicar of St Peter's Church, said: "Today was a very special service which I was delighted to have been involved in.

"To see all the community groups in Cradley come together for a service of remembrance in our restored churchyard was wonderful to see."

After the service Harry Bloomer from Cradley Then and Now Heritage Project premiered his film at St Peter's Church about those who fought and died in WW1 from Cradley.

Cradley Councillor Richard Body said: "I was proud and privileged to attend the WW1 memorial service in the newly cleared graveyard.

"Well done to everyone concerned for all their hard work over the past 12 months in clearing the jungle of brambles, nettles and trees."

He added: "It was a brilliant turn out and well done to everyone involved."

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