The Almondbury Community Exhibition commemorating WW1 was privileged to have two generations of descendants of Reynard Donkersley, holder of the Military Cross, at its opening.
Reynard lived with his family at 144 Northgate, almost on the doorstep of All Hallows’ Church. Reynard’s bravery was recorded in the Huddersfield Examiner of July 29 that year.
The Donkersleys were not the only family to loan precious 100-year-old documents, photographs, trench art and other wartime souvenirs.
Ten large display boards were placed around the church and covered with these testimonies to grandfathers, great uncles and other family members.
Of added interest were the items showing the contribution made by women, including a fascinating album of photos showing staff and patients at Royds Hall Military Hospital.
There was also a beautiful illuminated testimonial to Sister ME Pepper, mother of Miss H Oakley, in recognition of her service at Woodfield Military Hospital and the Knoll, Oldham, and two aprons worn by Louie Durrans as a VAD nurse based at a convalescent centre in the old St John’s school room Rowley Lane, Lepton.
Extremely moving was the work carried out by pupils from local schools in the parish.
A wonderful connection was made with the work of Farnley Tyas school and photos of the schools pupils in the playground in 1916.
The weekend saw several hundred visitors to view the Exhibition, with all of them expressing delight at what they had learned about the war and Almondbury.
On Remembrance Sunday, All Hallows’ Church was packed when church and chapel came together for the annual service of Remembrance.
A moving service, led jointly by the church curate and the Methodist minister opened with a poignant reading of Flanders Field, followed by the presentation of Beaver, Cub and Scout flags.
The Rev Tim Francis gave a thought-provoking address reminding everyone of the sacrifices made for peace by so many in the forces and civilian life.
Even today there are those who lay down their lives for peace.
The challenge was, and is, to remember the part we have to play in creating a world where there is real peace.
Afterwards, people were invited to write their personal wish for the world on a white dove shape then hang it on a Tree of Sacrifice and Peace, which was encircled by barbed wire.
The congregation then processed to the War Memorial, led by the choir and scout troop, for a short ceremony of prayer when wreathes were laid on the Memorial.
A bugler played The Last Post and after the two minutes silence the Reveille was played.
At the conclusion, coffee was served in the church hall with a further chance to view the exhibition.