One gazebo was up, the second had arrived, as Friends of Spital Cemetery gathered and slowly and steadily more and more people arrived  and kept arriving.

This was our Remembrance Service - Spital-style to remember those who fought, died, survived and went through the trauma of war and conflict at home and abroad.

We commenced on Monday morning at 10.30am with a warm welcome from John Gascogne of St Leonard's Mission - he reminded everyone that 6th November was St Leonard's Day and Leonard had become the patron saint of Prisoners of War.  Next up was Chair of Friends of Spital Cemetery, Liz Cook, the driver behind making so much happen in this green idyll, and she shared John McCrae's In Flanders Field.  

The list of the war dead who are buried or commemorated in Spital Cemetery was then read out.  The schedule of names is long, just shy of 50 names, and was heard in total solemn, respectful silence.

After this the Mayor of Chesterfield, Cllr Maureen Davenport, led those present down the path to an area where 8 graves had been prior marked with red ribbons.  (In fact Friends of Spital Cemetery had marked all the graves with red ribbons).  The Mayor, with Andy Miles, representative of the Miles family, laid a wreath on the grave of Charles Miles, who lost his life in World War One.  After the Exhortation and the Kohima Declaration and everyone present stopped to reflect for two minutes on those lives so tragically lost young.  The contemplation of this silence was appropriately broken when the trumpeter, John-Charles Tanner played the Reveille.  The ceremony closed with Rev Julie Minns, of Central Methodist Church read May Wedderburn Cannan's After the War.

This was a first gathering of such, but the solemnity, the turnout, the warmth of assistance and the scale of positive and appreciative chatter afterwards made this a must-repeat event.  So that is broadly what happened at the first Spital Cemetery Remembrance Service and what happens next is the planning for the next service which can, must and should happen again next year.  

There was a secondary undeclared aim with our service being held on the Monday before Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday - to get the graves cleared, tidied, recognised before visitors came and if they came, they would see that we Friends of Spital Cemetery had lived up to our oath.  Never Forget.

Place Monday 5th November 2018 in your diary please.