Annual Remembrance Service - National Memorial Arboretum
This report of the annual Remembrance Service has been sent in to us by Maynard Scott
The Church Lads’ & Church Girls’ Brigade
Annual Remembrance Service
12th November 2016
125th Anniversary 1891-2016
Dr Stephen Manning (St Gabriel’s Company, Walsall) was given the responsibility of organising the Annual Remembrance Service at the National Memorial Arboretum on 12th November. This was surely a privilege and an honour because of the previous day being the 125th Anniversary of the Church Lads’ & Church Girls’ Brigade. It was all the more unfortunate that senior officers from NHQ were not available due to being either out of the country or attending the Remembrance Sunday Cenotaph Parade in London. It was under these unusual circumstances that Stephen invited me to come out of retirement, as a recently retired Deputy Governor, to deputise for the Governor.
As most people know I am still involved as a volunteer at the National Memorial Arboretum and I discovered that it now has a facility in the new Remembrance Centre, (opened only last month), to welcome visiting groups to the Arboretum on a large TV type screen located above the main reception desk. With this in mind I provided the Events Department with the following Power Point Slide.
My colleagues at the Arboretum surprised me by displaying the greeting, not on one, but on two large screens exactly as I requested. To my knowledge, ours is probably the first organisation to use this facility and it was certainly pleasing on the eye to all the Brigade personnel when they came through the reception. It was also something for hundreds of non Brigade personnel to ponder as the entered the Arboretum.
We had a combined band from St.Mary Hinckley and St.Mary Atherstone and it gave a splendid performance in front of a large crowd in the new Hero’s Square prior to the service.
Before the service got under way, Stephen Manning read out messages of congratulations to the Brigade on reaching its 125th Anniversary from our Patron HM The Queen and from our Honorary Patrons, The Rt.Revd. & Rt Hon. The Lord Carey of Clifton; The Baroness Byford of Rothley DBE; Lady (Mary) Forbes MBE and Lady (Felicity) Langley. In addition, a similar message of congratulations was read out by Terry Hissey on behalf of Colonel Keith ARNS, Governor and Commandant of the Newfoundland Regiment. He read this from a picture framed letter which was unexpectedly presented to me. I thanked him for this on behalf of the Brigade and in reply made reference to the visit of the Newfoundland contingent which I had received at the Brigade Memorial Garden in NMA in July. I plan to pass the picture frame to NHQ probably at the next AGM. I have in the meantime emailed the Governor and CEO with a copy of the letter. As I write this report it is my understanding that the CEO will write to Colonel ARNS to acknowledgement his greeting on behalf of the Governor.
The service was led this year by The Reverend Prebendary Fr.Paul Lockett. As one would expect from a Queen’s Honorary Chaplain, he gave a splendid sermon. It was an old school sermon which he based upon the Catechism but without naming it as such. He quoted “Who gave you this name?” and followed this up emphasising the importance of baptism – how the Brigade Prayer was based upon baptism and that once baptised we all became inheritors of the Kingdom of Heaven. As always, it is not what you say but the way that you say it and Father Lockett has a wonderful way of getting his message across.
Following Father Lockett we had an address by Brigadier Doug Gibson, who is an enthusiastic supporter of Alan Carter’s Brigade unit in Tintern. The first words out of his mouth following the sermon were “Well, how do we follow that?” which was almost anticipated such was Father Lockett’s powerful sermon. The Brigadier gave an equally interesting address mainly about the bravery of so many soldiers in WW1 especially those who had gone before us in the CLB. This even received a round of applause. The Brigadier is still a serving officer now base in Bristol but was formerly a training officer at Sandhurst.
More than a dozen names were read our and added to the Roll of Remembrance this year, notably those of David Harris and John Starr.
Overall, it was a splendid service with around eighty people in attendance, and judging by the atmosphere, one of the best we have ever had. Stephen Manning should be congratulated with the arrangements he made for this service.
Maynard Scott 16th November 2016