Hollingbourne today marked the centenary of the end of WW1 when 37 men from the village died fighting for their country. The names of the dead are on memorials in All Saints’ Church and on the Village War Memorial in Eyhorne Street next to the Village School.
The day started with a church service at 10.45am in All Saints’ church that was conducted by the Reverend Paul Kite. The congregation of the almost packed church included representatives from the Cubs, Scouts, the Royal British Legion, the Parish Council, and other local organisations. the church was decorated with displays by village organisations and individuals that were coordinated by Val Lurcock of All Saints’ Parochial Church Council.
At 12.45pm wreaths were laid at the War Memorial in Eyhorne Street by representatives of the Royal British Legion, Hollingbourne Parish Council, and Hollingbourne’s twin community of Templeuve in France where Armistice Day is being marked by a ceremony in the town square. The Hollingbourne ceremony was led by the Reverend Paul Kite, Team Vicar for Hollingbourne.
Just after 2pm there was a ceremony to mark the opening of the Project 100 Avenue of Remembrance on the Hollingbourne Meadows Trust land at the rear of Tilefields. Project 100 is a joint venture by the Hollingbourne Meadows Trust and the Royal British Legion which has been supported by the National Lottery and many others. The Avenue is comprised of 100 hawthorn trees and each one can be sponsored for £295 in memory of some family member who served in the Great War and more information is available from Shaun Cardwell (Tel 880199). It is hoped that Project 100 will also raise money for the Royal British Legion.
Over 300 people attended the event and special guests included the Mayor of Maidstone, Councillor David Naghi, Faversham, Mr Tim Steel, a Deputy Lieutenant for Kent (Swale), and Mid Kent MP, Mrs Helen Whately, other locally elected representatives, and delegations from local Royal British Legion branches plus a number of cubs and scouts. Mr Shaun Cardwell, a Trustee of Project 100, gave an introduction to Project 100 and thanked the many supporters and people who made the Avenue happen including Ben Williams who has organised much of the work on the site. He also mentioned Lynn and Glenn Bryan and the Saint George’s Players who have raised money with their WW1 Revue in the Village Hall.
Shaun also paid tribute to the support of Parish Councillor Alan Bennett who died on 20th October. After speeches by the Chairman of the Kent Royal British Legion, Mr Richard Cast , Councillor David Naghi, and Mrs Helen Whately, and a prayer of dedication by the Reverend Paul Kite, the names of Hollingbourne’s war dead were read out by children from Hollingbourne County Primary School with their Headteacher, Mrs Helen Bradley-Wyatt.
The cutting of the tape to open the Avenue was performed by Mrs Whately who had mentioned in her speech that although parliament is currently reviewing the UK’s relationship with the EU, good relations are necessary for continuing peace in Europe.
The day concluded at 7pm with the lighting of a beacon in the centre of the Avenue of Remembrance that was attended by over 100 villagers and the “ringing out for peace” of the bells in All Saint’s Church under the direction of the Bell Captain, Nigel Baker.
Pictured below are some of the images of the day.