Centenary of the end of the First World War
November 7, 2018

I was shocked to see the images of the terrible fire that engulfed
Morrison’s in Cheriton Road, Folkestone last week. Like everyone else
I am grateful for the brave work of the fire service in tackling the
blaze, and for all the staff at the store, who made sure that everyone
was safely evacuated. Looking at the huge amount of damage caused it
is a blessed relief that there were no casualties of the fire. I’m am
pleased that Morrison’s have confirmed that all of the jobs at the
store will be protected, and that they intend to re-open on site as
soon as possible. I know that Folkestone and Hythe District Council
are committed to providing them with any assistance they need to
facilitate this process.

Last Sunday I attended the Remembrance Day service at the war memorial
in Folkestone, where it was my honour to lay a wreath in memory of all
those who gave their lives in the two world wars and the conflicts
since then. The service had an added importance as it fell exactly 100
years from the date of the armistice that marked the end of the First
World War. It was excellent to see such a large number of people out
to join the remembrance service, certainly the most I can remember
seeing in my eight years as your Member of Parliament.

In addition to this, hundreds of people had also gathered on and
around the Sunny Sands beach to watch the creation of the beach
portrait of the war poet Wilfred Owen. Before the main town memorial
service started, I went to Wear Bay Road to get a good look at the
stunning image from above. The beach portrait was the idea of the film
director Danny Boyle who was in Folkestone to oversee the creation of
this work, which was one of 32 such images being created on beaches
around the coast of the UK. As the tide came in, the image of the lost
soldier of the First World War was taken by the sea. With perfect
timing and poignancy, Wilfred Owen’s portrait was captured as the two
minutes silence was held at 11am, marking the exact moment that the
fighting ceased in the war 100 years ago.

Last Sunday there was also a special service at the Machine Gun Corp
Memorial in Cheriton Road cemetery, which was supported by the Friends
of Old Folkestone Cemetery. This group of volunteers is led by Cllr
Jan Holben, along with Hugh Barker, Margaret Care, Peter Anderson and
Martin Easdown, and to mark the First World War Centenary, they have
commissioned a panel which details the history of the cemetery and the
locations of some of the notable graves; this includes servicemen who
were awarded the Victoria Cross, and some of the victims of the
Folkestone air raid of 1917. This memorial panel was unveiled last
Sunday, and was funded with support from the District Council, and the
Air Raid Families group. You can also find out more at their website
www.fofc.uk

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