Charnwood Great War Centenary Project Peace Vigil

Billed as “an invitation to all to provide, share and take part in arts, music, poetry, meditation, silence and reflection”, the Peace Vigil drew people of many faiths and those with none to All Saints with Holy Trinity Church from all over Charnwood.  The event created an opportunity for people to engage with the work on the memorials and the small exhibition we presented there which included ‘Poppies and Peace’ hangings made by community groups as well as to join with others from across the wider community of Loughborough.

The evening began with the lighting of fire by Loughborough Scouts outside the open great doors of the church, then the assembled crowd were engaged, by Way of the Wyrd Border Morris, in a ‘war’ or stick dance preceded by the words below:

“  ..  they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up swords against nations, neither shall they learn war any more.”

A procession of elderly Asian ladies from the Anand Mangal ‘Come to be Happy’ group led those present down the aisle to the altar with a stick dance; once there they recited a Hindu poem for peace.  The names of the fallen from the two recently re-positioned memorials were recited and the 1st Loughborough Boys Brigade and members of the Royal British Legion lowered the standards.  Actors from Stage Left Theatre Company gave extracts from ‘Private Peaceful’ by Michael Murpurgo in an adaptation by local dramatist, Robert Staunton.  There were presentations from Loughborough Mosque and Brahma Kumaris on the theme of peace.  Maria’s Singers and Rita Purkayastha of Bhakti Yoga left the church environs echoing with renditions of Allegri’s Miserere and Om Prurnam.  Tommy Atkin’s band sang the ‘Green Fields of France’ by Eric Bogle and Grain Theatre Company gave a version of the ‘Parable of the Old and the Young Man.’

The event ended with a gun shot and a reading of lines from the Turkish memorial at Gallipoli:

“..  you, the mothers who sent their sons from far away countries wipe away your tears, your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace.”

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