MORE than 200 people gathered in Stafford town centre for a series of ceremonies to remember the centenary of the First World War.
Veterans, serving soldiers, civic leaders and clergy from the town’s churches joined together to commemorate the 31 men from the Stafford area who lost their lives in the first months of the conflict in 1914.
The Victoria Square war memorial, which has been refurbished by Stafford Borough Council, was re-dedicated by the Rt Rev Geoff Annas, Bishop of Stafford, and wreaths were laid by the Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire Ian Dudson and the Mayor of Stafford, Councillor Ray Sutherland.
The commemoration then moved to the ruins of St Bertelin’s Chapel, the oldest place of worship in the town, where 31 crosses were placed by members of the Royal British Legion and Armed Forces veterans’ organisations to remember the fallen.
A service of remembrance and reconciliation followed at St Mary’s Church, led by town centre and British Legion chaplain the Rev John Davis.
The service featured music from St Mary’s and St Chad’s choirs, and the sermon was preached by the Bishop of Stafford.
Prayers were read by Rev Michael Metcalfe, head of Churches Together in Stafford, and Pastor John Marshall, of Church Lane Evangelical Church.
The service closed with the Mayor lighting a peace candle in the church, accompanied by members of St Mary’s Children’s choir.
Photographs by Paul Milgate