Remembrance in Hampstead: Silence falls at interfaith service marking centenary of Armistice Day
- Credit: Nigel Sutton
Silence fell on a Hampstead memorial as “all faiths and none” gathered to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.
Veterans, religious leaders and young schoolchildren gathered at the Hampstead Whitestone Pond War Memorial in North End Way today for the multi-faith remembrance service ahead of Armistice Day on Sunday.
Crowds listened as Rev Kate Dean, Unitarian Minister at Rosslyn Hill Chapel, opened the service with a reimagined “Psalm 23 Redux”.
Shana Begum, a Muslim Unitarian from Rosslyn Hill Chapel, and Tony Ostrin, of the Hampstead Synagogue, read remembrance poetry.
Peter Bennett, from the Central London Mosque and Islamic Cultural Centre, read from Chapter 3 of the Quran.
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At 11am traffic was brought to a standstill as Year 11 William Ellis trumpeter Manu Raffray played the Last Post to herald the two minutes’ silence.
His Reveille led the laying of wreaths by those present including the mayor of Camden, Cllr Jenny Headlam-Wells, Baroness Garden of Frognal, and four-year-olds from Hampstead Hill School.
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Rev Dean told the Ham&High after the event: “It’s so important for us to remember all those who suffer in times of war. It’s a wonderful opportunity to come together, all faiths and none, to work for peace.”
Mr Ostrin added: “The Jewish community think this is a very important event and we should always remember those who fought in both World Wars.
“Peace is what it is all about – not war. We should never forget.”
Baroness Garden of Frognal, who had read from The Kohima Epitath, said: “It’s wonderful to see the children come to remember the war 100 years ago. It’s good that we remember still.”
Ch Insp Mark Gallagher, representing the Met, said: “It’s nice to see all the children here at this event remembering what people gave in previous years. It’s good that children learn from a young age what it all means.
“I’m glad the police can be part of it.”
Eight years ago the crumbling 1922 memorial was restored with the help of veterans Alexander Rudelhoff, 83, and Brian Keys, 81 – who donated £24,000 after an appeal from Linda Chung, organiser of the event.
Mr Rudelhoff said: “The remembrance is always here which is important.
“We saved that memorial. People didn’t know about it at the time.
“When we went to people who had plenty of money they didn’t want to spend it. So Linda came back to us and me and Brian paid for it.”
Ms Chung said: “With everybody’s busy lives it is important that we spend time to remember.”