Remembrance Sunday saw the final commemoration event of the Cheltenham Remembers project marking the 100 years since the signing of the Armistice Agreement and the council thanks all the partners involved and all who came to see the powerful, thought provoking and poignant WW1 projection.
The Cheltenham Remembers WW1 commemoration weekend began on the afternoon of Saturday 10 November, with the Memorial March through the town centre.
Participants gathered in Sandford Park led by two mounted police, standard bearers and the Leckhampton Players with the rear taken up by the Fire Service, two fire engines and a police car. Each of the 1,278 participants held a lanyard bearing the name and photograph of a soldier who died in the conflict and now commemorated on the Promenade war memorial. The one-mile march finished at Montpellier Gardens which was followed by a short service.
Sunday started at 6am with a lone piper playing the traditional Scottish lament, Battles O’er on the steps of the war memorial. Then followed, in glorious sunshine, one of the largest Remembrance Services Cheltenham has seen.
The Remembrance Sunday service and parade was followed by the first ever projection of the remarkable and unique 20 minute film of imagery and sound depicting the horror of war, involving actors, animation, poetry, sound and emotive music onto the front of the Municipal Offices building, four storeys high to an impressed audience.
The film, developed by Evenlode Productions had contributions from University of Gloucestershire third year animation students and the street poet JPDL, whose WW1 poem ‘Tommy’, was written especially for the projection. The projection was replayed every 30 minutes as new audiences joined the throng along the Promenade.
Cllr Flo Clucas, Cheltenham cabinet member for healthy lifestyles said: “This weekend was so moving; it was simply incredible. Despite the heavy rain people came in their hundreds and hundreds to honour those who died. At its conclusion, marchers were gifted with a beautiful rainbow over Montpellier Gardens. The day really embodied the spirit of community and remembrance.
“The powerful and thought provoking projection was very well received by the thousands that gathered outside the municipal offices last night. Almost 100,000 people have also watched it on the internet and that number continues to grow.
“We’d like to thank all who participated, the council staff, Cheltenham BID, Evenlode Productions, University of Gloucestershire, The Everyman Theatre, Heritage Lottery Fund and all our partners who helped create these remarkable events, to mark the centenary of Cheltenham’s fallen.”
Kevan Blackadder, director of Cheltenham Business Improvement District, said: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the positive response to the weekend’s activities from both businesses and individuals alike. There was a real feeling of coming together and that Cheltenham had made a real mark with both what we planned and what we achieved.”
Cheltenham Borough Council would like to thank everyone who in some way, either as a participant or audience member, was involved in the 2018 Centenary of the signing of the Armistice Agreement. They are remembered 11.11.18.