MAYOR Joe Baker urged Redditch residents to use the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme to reflect and strive for peace and unity.
Last Friday (July 1) people gathered around the war memorial in the Plymouth Road peace gardens for a service and moment of reflection to remember those who died in the four-and-a-half month long First World War battle.
The vigil, led by local historian Philip Jarvis, was attended by many including members of the Royal British Legion. borough councillors, representatives from Trinity High School, serving members of the armed forces and others.
Coun Baker said: “It’s nice to see so many people here at it is important to remember those who fell at the Somme and gave up their lives for us to have the freedom we have today.
“It is a sad, sobering occasion, to remember all who died in a war brought about by bad politics and conflicting nations.
“I think with everything going on around the world currently it is important, more than ever, that we strive for peace and unity.”
Poppy wreaths were laid by members of the public and councillors and a candle was lit for the 57 soldiers from Redditch died at the Somme.
Year 13 Trinity students Max Bridges and Sophie Beldham were also invited to lay poppy crosses at the memorial. Former pupils of the then County High School were among the fallen 100 years ago.
Max said: “The service was truly memorable. It is hard to imagine the loss of life and sacrifices that were made by people from our local community all those years ago. It was a very moving experience.”
Sophie added: “Events like this make you realise how strong the connections we have with people in the past still are today. It is so important that we remember these kinds of things as it helps to bring our community together.”
After the service people were invited to visit the graves of the soldiers who died after returning home from the war and more flowers were laid.
Council leader Coun Bill Hartnett said: “It was an honour to attend the service of remembrance and to lay a poppy wreath at the memorial on the 100th anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Somme.
“I would like to thank Philip and the legion and standard bearers fora very moving service.”