Candlelit vigil for the villagers who never came home

Brian Woof plays the bugle owned by Askrigg soldier James Preston, whose home can be seen, far left, in the background. Picture: Anita Watson.

By Betsy Everett

A candlelit vigil marked the end of a day of mixed emotions in Askrigg on Sunday as villagers gathered to remember the dead of two world wars – and celebrate the signing of the Armistice 100 years ago.

As the traditional service of remembrance got underway in the morning, a half-muffled peel of bells was rung to honour lost lives as names were read out at the war memorial in St Oswald’s Church.

In the afternoon the mood lightened with tea and cakes served in the nave, and a concert from the ladies who sing providing the backdrop to a display of wartime memorabilia collated by local historian Christine Hallas. Children danced and skipped in the aisles, while grown-ups exchanged stories and caught up with the local gossip.
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In the evening people gathered again, this time with candles and torches to hear poems and prose read by Christine Hallas, MaryRose Kearney, Iraq war veteran Rob Stokes, and Tony Hutchinson, and prayers from the vicar, the Revd Dave Clark. A poignant moment followed as the bugle owned by a young Askrigg soldier who served in the First World War sounded the Last Post, just yards from the front door of the home he had left more than a century ago, never to return.

Then as the crowd dispersed a final, celebratory, peel of bells echoed around the small, close-knit village which like so many others had suffered a lot, but survived to honour its past and look forward to its future.

A ghostly figure in the pew, part of the There-Not-There installation to mark the Armistice centenary and representing the soldiers who never returned. Picture: Anita Watson
Askrigg’s Ladies Who Sing at the afternoon concert and tea.







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