The Sheriff of Nottingham, Coun Jackie Morris, was determined that Bulwell would stage a special event to mark the 100th anniversary of Britain’s entry into the First World War.
So she personally organised a parade, followed by an open-air service, and she was ‘amazed’ by the response.
Although it was a normal working Monday, a big crowd assembled for the service on the Bulwell Bogs Memory Garden. Some people viewed the ceremony by looking down from behind the railings on Highbury Road.
The Bulwell branch of the Royal British Legion and several uniformed organisations were represented in the parade, which was led by a corps of drums.
This was to have started from the Bulwell Army Reserve Centre on Hucknall Lane. But as permission was not obtained to close the main roads, the route was from outside Bulwell’s Tesco superstore and through the town centre pedestrian area.
Speaking at the Memory Garden ceremony, Coun Mrs Morris said she felt ‘very proud’ that so many descendants, including children, of men who died in the Great War were present.
The Rev Andy Nicolls, parish priest at St Mary’s Church, Bulwell, who conducted the service, said: “With this act of remembering, we honour those who did not come home from the war.”
A cross had been placed on a Union flag at the scene, decorated with a poppy. Three poems written for the occasion were read and there was a sing-a-long to tunes which included ‘Pack up your Troubles’ and ‘It’s a Long Way to Tipperary’, led by members of Bulwell Riverside Community Choir.
The service was followed by 324 tolls of a bell at St Mary’s Church, this being the number of Bulwell men who gave their lives in the First World War, and their names were read out.
One of the tolls was for Cyril Edmund Robinson, an uncle of former Dispatch chief reporter Denis Robinson.
A medallion was given in tribute to Cyril, worded ‘He Died for Freedom and Honour’.
The ceremony was especially poignant for Lesley Fox, of Bulwell. She was present to remember her great-uncle, William Isaac Fox, who lost his life in 1918, and to represent her son, Private Jack McGuire (19), who is serving in Afghanistan.
Ex-serviceman and Royal British Legion stalwart John Prichard summed it all up when he said: “It may be 100 years ago but those who died in World War One should be remembered always.”
Open days were held at the Army Reserve Centre on Monday and Tuesday to mark the centenary.