To mark the centenary of the Armistice and the end of the Borough’s four year World War One commemorative programme, a borough-wide World War One Memorial Service took place at St Catherine’s and St Paul’s Parish Church in Hoddesdon on Sunday 11 November.
Led by Rev. Rachel Pennant, the service included both traditional Remembrance hymns and scripture readings with elements from the Borough’s commemorative programme including an extract from the Stephen Warner Diaries. Warner, from Hoddesdon, served both as a medic and a soldier during the Great War and kept detailed diaries of his time. Councillor Mark Mills-Bishop, Leader of Broxbourne Borough Council, spoke about the life of Edith Cavell, including her time at Cheshunt Community Hospital in 1901, which was marked with a commemorative plaque on the centenary of her death on 12 October 2015. Andrew Geary read his poem, ‘The Order of the White Feather’, which won the Borough’s War and Peace themed poetry competition in 2014.
More traditional readings of scripture and poetry were given by Councillor Carol Crump, Mayor of Broxbourne, Paul Seeby (Deputy Leader of Broxbourne Borough Council), Alicia Hall and Thomas Jennings from the Broxbourne Youth Council and Charles Walker OBE, MP. After the service concluded, circa 120 guests in attendance were invited for refreshments provided by the Church’s congregation.
Outside the church by the garden of remembrance, visitors admired a poppy display created by Love Hoddesdon, built around a 6ft steel Tommy statue which is part of the national ‘There But Not There’ Armistice charity raising money for organisations supporting former and wounded servicemen and women.
The Love Hoddesdon Poppy Project, in conjunction with Broxbourne Borough Council, Hoddesdon Parish Church, Mayhem Theatre Arts and The Royal British Legion produced over 6,000 poppies, either knitted or crafted using recycled plastic bottles. These adorned the Jubilee Shelter and the Clock Tower, and on the morning of Remembrance Sunday, the Hoddesdon War Memorial railing. A World War One commemorative bench was also installed in Hoddesdon Town Centre, accompanying those previously installed at Barclay Park, Cedars Park, Cheshunt Park, Goffs Oak and Old Highway Recreation Ground.
Following the success of last year’s poignant poppy display at the Old Pond fountain in Cheshunt, over two thousand ceramic poppies, crafted by local school children have adorned the grass area on the roundabout. Participating schools included Goffs Academy, Goffs-Churchgate Academy, Haileybury Turnford, Brookland Infants, Brookland Juniors, Hurst Drive Primary and Westfield Primary School. Poppy-making workshops were held at Haileybury Turnford School on Tuesday 6 November to involve residents and members of the public.
The Mayor of Broxbourne, Councillor Carol Crump, said “These poppies are a striking reminder of the message of Remembrance Day and I hope that many residents and visitors will be able to see them and be inspired to remember those who gave their lives for their country.”
A War Memorial Companion booklet providing brief biographies of all those commemorated on the Borough’s war memorials has also been published on the Council’s website.
Lowewood Museum, Hoddesdon, has received £16,140 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for Broxbourne: We Will Remember Them, a project to record, share and commemorate the lives of First World War soldiers from Broxbourne.
Through online information, digital records and a touring exhibition, the project will bring local people together to preserve the stories of those who served, ensuring that their legacy lives on.
Remembrance Day services were held throughout the Borough on the morning of Sunday 11 November. The Mayor of Broxbourne, Cllr Carol Crump, and Deputy Mayor, Cllr Steve Wortley, laid wreaths at Cheshunt and Broxbourne War Memorials. The Leader of the Council was at Hoddesdon War Memorial, which attracted approximately 2,000 people, whilst the Deputy Leader was at Goffs Oak War Memorial. All were accompanied by members of the Broxbourne Youth Council who laid wreaths to demonstrate the gratitude of the Borough’s young people.
Leader of the Council, Councillor Mark Mills-Bishop, said: “It is important that we remember the men and women who gave their lives in battle. The things we do for ourselves die with us but the things we do in the service of others live forever.”