Harrogate to host Candlelit Christmas Remembrance Service at Stonefall Cemetery
A Candlelit Christmas Remembrance service will take place at Stonefall Cemetery in Harrogate on Sunday, December 19 to pay respects to the fallen.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) warmly invites members of the public to the event, where they will be provided with battery operated tea lights to place on the graves of the fallen which will then be followed by a short service of Remembrance.
The Candlelit Christmas Remembrance was the inspiration of local woman Benji Walker who had seen images of CWGC cemeteries in Europe lit by candlelight.
She said: “I feel it’s as important today as it was at the time to recognise the sacrifice of those who gave everything to serve this country.
“The Candlelit Christmas Remembrance is a chance for the local community to gather and to remember the sacrifice of the hundreds of CWGC casualties buried at Stonefall, many of them thousands of miles from home.”
With over 1,000 Commonwealth war graves, the cemetery is one of the largest CWGC sites in the North of England.
CWGC Public Engagement Coordinator, Elizabeth Smith, said: “The plot at Stonefall Cemetery is unique in the North of England due to its size and resemblance to our sites overseas.
“At the end of the Second World War, local people were encouraged to adopt the war graves of the Canadian servicemen and lay wreaths on behalf of their families at Christmas.
“The Candlelit Christmas Remembrance gives local people a chance to reconnect with their history and pay their respects to the fallen.”
Benji who has a son serving in the Yorkshire Regiment, will be using the event to raise money for the Commonwealth War Graves Foundation and Help for Heroes.
Members of the public are able to sponsor a candle with the profits being split between the two charities.
Those wishing to attend the service are advised to dress warmly, wear a solid shoe and bring torches.
The service will start at 4pm, with the meeting point being at the war graves plot adjacent to Forest Lane.