It will be ‘lights on’ in Hurst Green in the hope of peace

Hurst Green war memorial.
Hurst Green war memorial.
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A special commemoration is being added on to the end of the normal Remembrance Sunday service at Hurst Green to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.

Four years ago, on the centenary of the outbreak of the war, on the evening of August 4th, villagers marched down from Hurst Green Memorial Hall to the war memorial with lighted candles. There, after a short commemoration service, their candles and a special memorial candle were extinguished.

The inspiration for this symbolic action was the statement made by Sir Edward Grey, the Foreign Secretary at the time of the outbreak of the conflict, who said: “The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.”

The special memorial candle has remained unlit at the village war memorial ever since.

On Remembrance Sunday it will be relit as a peace candle by a young pupil from St Joseph’s RC Primary School to celebrate the armistice, which brought peace after so much slaughter on both sides of the conflict.

“We know, with the benefit of hindsight, that it was not the lasting peace that those who had suffered such grievous loss were desperately hoping for, as there have been so many more conflicts over the past century, some still going on,” said Major Andrew Penny, the president of Hurst Green Royal British Legion.

“So, as the peace candle is relit, villagers will be praying for an end to violence and war just as our forebears prayed 100 years ago.

“Four years ago we said ‘lights out’ in memory of the dead. On November 11th we will say ‘lights on’ in the hope of peace.”

He added: “We are hoping that those who attended the event four years ago will return with the candles they carried then and relight them as the peace candle is relit.”

Afterwards everyone is invited back to Hurst Green Memorial Hall for light refreshments and the chance to look at a small exhibition to mark the end of the First World War.