August 5, 2014
In photos: Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge marks centenary of WW1

Residents in Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge have marked the centenary of the First World War this week with several special events.

Last night (Monday, August 4th) a candlelit vigil was held at St Andrew's Church to mark the actual date and time of the outbreak of war.

On Sunday, a special service was held at the church attended by members of the Town Council and Burnham and Highbridge's Mayor, Cllr Martin Cox.

He planted a commemorative hawthorn tree alongside 78 mini crosses laid by local people, as pictured here.

78 is so important as it represents the number of those killed in the First War from Burnham-On-Sea.

St Andrew's Church also hosted a special commemoration on Saturday evening when songs and poems from the time, along with stories of those who left to go to the 'front', were recited.

One such story recorded a one young man celebrating his birthday while crossing the English Channel while another recorded the call-up of Harry Patch - the last 'Tommy'.

Rev Witts told "Some have questioned why we have been marking the beginning of WW1, and asked why we are not waiting for a celebration in 2018 of the successful conclusion of the War. I think it is important not to 'air brush' out the cost of that victory by ignoring the personal stories and sacrifices of those from our own community."

He added: "What struck me most in all this was the impact on individual lives. We heard the story this weekend of the death of Private John Bevan and how he assisted the retreat of the British line, even at the cost of his own certain death. His body has never been found and lies somewhere in Flanders field. This story can be repeated thousands of times over."

The Mayor planting the ceremonial tree in memory of those who died

The British Legion's flag bearer during this week ceremony in Burnham

Members of Highbridge U3A paid tribute to those who gave their lives during WW1 by laying a basket of poppies at the War Memorial in Southwell Gardens

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