What Can Happen on a Sunday Afternoon in Church

Gordon Stewart talks about the war memorial

We lucky men who’ve not faced your trials,
nor traded cheerful youth for chance,
offer you now with our hundred miles,
Honour, Respect, Remembrance

The St. Mary’s War Memorial is reputedly the largest terracotta work in London. On Sunday 29 June, during Sunday afternoon opening, in a moving ceremony and to the above spoken tribute a hand knitted poppy was laid before the Memorial in honour and remembrance of the dead of
the First World War.

For many years, around the summer solstice a group of friends in Manchester have undertaken a 24 hour physical challenge to raise money for charity. They have climbed the UK’s highest mountains, rowed its biggest lakes and undertaken arduous cycling challenges. Most are professionals in their 60s.

This year they determined to raise money for Parkinsons UK and to honour the War Dead, regardless of alliance, race, age, role or conscientious objection, by cycling over 100 miles in 24 hours to visit and lay a hand-knitted or crocheted wreath at 100 war memorials. Their journey over the weekend of 28th and 29th June took them to war memorials in Scotland, Wales and England, starting out from the National War Memorial in Edinburgh Castle and ending at the Cenotaph.

St. Mary’s was one of the war memorials chosen from the 10,000 listed by the Imperial War Museum.
The weekend of 28/29 June was chosen as it is the anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the seminal event leading to the Great War.
To find out more about these intrepid cyclists, visit www.WW100Challenge.co.uk.
If you would like to share in experiences like this, or just enjoy the beauty and tranquillity of St. Mary’s, do please volunteer to open the Church on summer Sunday afternoons – contact Sarah Macnab or Debbie Apostolides.

Gordon Stewart