Unique Remembrance Success at Bradfield, St Nicholas

1st December 2015

A unique project to mark Remembrance in 2015 has been successful, far beyond organisers’ hopes and expectations. The Dungworth, Bradfield and District World War One Heritage Group in north west Sheffield put together a number of inter-connected events in the area to commemorate World War One, and to mark Remembrance, supporting the Royal British Legion, Help the Heroes, Bradfield Dungworth Primary School, and St Nicholas’ Church, Bradfield. The events were sponsored by the Peak District National Park Authority and Bradfield Parish Council.

The highlight of the programme for many was the unique illumination of St Nicholas’ Church with giant floating poppies every evening for a week. Hundreds of people flocked to Bradfield from all across Sheffield, and all across the region, to see the sight. At a number of times local roads became gridlocked, there were so many visitors. Designer Sue Hague, of PinkDotInc, created a truly memorable installation. She said, “The best and most moving experience has got to be the positive community response and feed back from the whole event, with the thanks from individual people for making them feel that they are not alone when they have lost a loved one. One of the aims of the project was for people to stop and remember their memories, and start to write them down before these memories are lost; also to stop and remember that there are battles in everyone’s life and not just with the wars happening around the world. If we can find a solution to the battles within people’s individual lives, we may be able to spread this feeling and plant seeds with projects like these and, may be, one day, create peace around the world.”  

Local school children researched the 1911 census for the area, and devised a series playlets depicting life during World War One. A range of fund raising events contributed to the programme, including a sponsored abseil by A2B Expeditions, a Harvest Auction at the Royal Hotel, Dungworth, St Nicholas’ Church Ploughman’s Lunches, and teas from the Dungworth Women’s Institute. Community events included an art exhibition with work from local artists and children from Bradfield Dungworth Primary School and Stocksbridge Junior School, an illustrated talk by Major Edward Colver MBE at the Royal Hotel, a concert by Loxley Silver Band, sponsored by the Royal Hotel, and a torch lit “Air Raid Walk” for families, sponsored by Bradfield Brewery.

Services at St Nicholas’ Church, Bradfield, during November included a Memorial Service on 1st November, with special guests the Lord Mayor of Sheffield, the High Sheriff of South Yorkshire, there Chief Executive of Sheffield City Council, and the Chair of Bradfield Parish Council. Remembrance Sunday on 8th November saw two memorable services - in the morning with Bishop Tim Ellis, and in the evening with Royal Navy Reservist Michelle Ping. Rev Alan Isaacson, Rector of Bradfield, said, “These events have helped us to honour those who gave their lives for us in two world wars, and other conflicts; also to remember loved ones no longer with us; to support our armed services; and to pray for the peace of the world - something we need to do now more than ever, it seems.”  

The centrepiece of the programme has been a “Poppy Memorial Trail” from the church door to the village war memorial. The local Heritage Group wanted to devise a project that would help to gather people’s memories of loved ones, so people were invited to buy a small plaque, and write a memory on it, to create the Trail. Nearly 1000 plaques have been sold, and the Trail is almost complete. The project will end (for this year) on Sunday 6th December - St Nicholas’ Day - when the Bishop of Sheffield will walk the Trail, at around 11.45am, and say final prayers of remembrance at 12noon at the War Memorial.  

Tony Eaton, Help for Heroes Regional Manager for the North East said: “Help for Heroes is all about ‘doing your bit’ and this incredible dedication to fundraising is a wonderful example of people rallying support and raising money for wonderful causes. The money raised allows us to continue to rebuild lives. We are truly grateful and wish the very best for the remainder of the project.”  

Rory Clayton, Sheffield Co-ordinator for the Royal British Legion, said, “The Royal British Legion wish to express their gratitude to all those who took part in what was a most informative and extremely rewarding experience.”

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