Nearly 250 young people will take part in Ripon’s Armistice Day parade on Sunday, proudly carrying poppy bats listing the names of all those who served in the First World War from Ripon.
Schools from across the city are coming together for this special and emotional tribute, which will see 240 children marching in the parade from Ripon Spa Gardens to Ripon Cathedral. Many of the children will be carrying poppy bats with the name of a relative who died in the war.
Thousands of residents and visitors are expected to turn out and support Ripon’s Armistice Day commemorations on Sunday, filling Ripon Spa Gardens for an act of Remembrance, followed by a service at Ripon Cathedral.
Ripon’s breathtaking displays of 50,000 knitted poppies are continuing to attract vast attention from across the country, as the city leads the way in marking the centenary of the end of the First World War. And the displays, which line the route for Remembrance, will take centre stage again on Sunday.
Stuart Martin, who has spearheaded Ripon Community Poppy Project with Hazel Barker, said residents will find it extremely difficult to keep a dry eye - remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice, but also taking time to reflect on Ripon’s extraordinary community spirit that has been showcased throughout the extensive centenary commemorations.
Stuart said: “I think it is going to be very, very emotional. I would hope that those who have lost their lives in the First World War and other conflicts will look down and say Ripon has paid tribute to us all, and they couldn’t have done any more.
“Ripon for me is the place to be for Remembrance, it is going to be so respectful, emotional and special.” Stuart hopes the experience of taking part in the parade will be something that stays with the 240 young people forever.
He said: “I think it will be emotional for them, but also educational. I think some of them won’t realise the age of some of the people who lost their lives in the war. For that brief moment, those who served in the war from Ripon will be brought back to life.”
Ripon’s extraordinary projects to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War, including the poppy project, initially stemmed from a single post on social media last year, where a resident was critical of the city’s efforts for Remembrance.
Since then, Ripon’s First World War commemorations have exceeded all expectations, galvanising a whole city to get involved - from young people, to the elderly, and from community groups to businesses, everyone has played an important part.
The resident who originally criticised Ripon last year has since written to Stuart and the Ripon Community Poppy Project team to thank them and the thousands of residents involved for all their hard work.
At its height, 30,000 soldiers were stationed at Ripon army camp, and Ripon has gone all-out to remember these deeply-rooted connections with the First World War.
City resident Carol Priestley, who attended the opening of Ripon’s new Remembrance garden on Saturday said: “There are very few people in Ripon and the locality, who are not connected to the Armed Forces, whether through the Royal Engineers, many generations of which have settled here, the local RAF bases, and the supporting services.
“I can even recall the Ripon Submariners Club, and our two elderly neighbours who were proud members until their deaths. My husband is an ex Royal Engineer, my grandfather was a Norfolk ploughman who, though lame, was finally accepted into the Royal Engineers in 1916. My husband’s grandfather was in the Leeds Rifles, and my father won the Distinguished Flying Cross in the Second World War. All were very lucky to have survived, but they never forgot the vast numbers of individuals who did not, each one deserving of our respect and the honour of keeping their memories alive.
“I am sure we all hold in our hearts the young men and women who gave their lives, or their health, for our future, many of them younger than the current school leaving age. Each one had their own story, and deserve our respect by never forgetting them.”
Full timings for Armistice Day in Ripon:
As part of a nationwide act of remembrance, at 6am a lone piper from the Air Training Corps will play Battle’s Over at Ripon Cathedral to salute those who gave their lives during the First World War, and a prayer of peace will follow.
At 10.45am, there will be an act of Remembrance at Ripon Spa Gardens, followed by a two minute silence, the laying of wreathes, and the parade to Ripon Cathedral.
Ripon Cathedral’s Remembrance service starts at 11.40am. Led by the Dean of Ripon Cathedral, the Very Rev John Dobson, addresses will be given by the Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Rev Nicholas Baines, and Bishop Ralf Meister of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Hanover, Germany.