Children’s march of peace before Horsham’s Armistice service

Children from St Mary's Nursery, Horsham, at a  service at St Mary's Remembrance Garden SUS-181211-124533001
Children from St Mary's Nursery, Horsham, at a service at St Mary's Remembrance Garden SUS-181211-124533001

Children from a Horsham nursery staged a poignant Armistice Day tribute when they marched to St Mary’s Garden of Remembrance singing It’s A Long Way To Tipperary.

The youngsters - from St Mary’s Nursery - also carried white doves of peace which they made as the marched along Normandy to the gardens ahead of the Remembrance service in Horsham’s Carfax on Sunday.

Poppies at the newly-refurbished St Mary's Remembrance Garden, Horsham SUS-181211-124547001

Poppies at the newly-refurbished St Mary's Remembrance Garden, Horsham SUS-181211-124547001

The children were joined by Horsham District Council chairman Peter Burgess along with members of Denne Neighbourhood Council, the Horsham Society and the Horsham Branch of the Royal British Legion.

A short service of remembrance and reflection, marking the centenary of the signing of the armistice, was held at the newly-refurbished St Mary’s Remembrance Garden.

Councillor Peter Burgess welcomed everyone and spoke of the historic significance of the Garden of Remembrance before Father David Bouskill led the service.

Council cabinet member for leisure Jonathan Chowen said: “It was especially poignant that some 100 years after the gardens were first established and ahead of the 100th anniversary of the armistice, we gathered to hold this special service.

“It was also particularly touching to be joined by the youngsters of St Mary’s Nursery and members of the various partnership groups who have helped the council to guide this significant refurbishment project.

“My thanks go out to the Horsham Society and Denne Neighbourhood Council for their support with this project and to Horsham Green Gym and the Horsham branch of Sainsbury’s for their strenuous efforts to make this beautiful garden happen.”

The St Mary’s Garden of Remembrance and the Mill Bay area have a long history as recreational open spaces in Horsham, dating back nearly 100 years when Horsham’s first female councillor Nellie Vest Laughton created the garden in memory of her husband and to commemorate the First World War, enabling it to become Horsham’s first ever park.

In 2018 the gardens were restored and upgraded to ensure a quality that meets the expectations for a heritage site such as this so close to the centre of Horsham’s historic centre. The restoration was funded by developer contributions.

The refurbishment project was managed by Horsham District Council, working in close collaboration with the Horsham Society and Denne Neighbourhood Council.