Church says it with flowers to mark centenary of conflict

Dozens of people attended a flower festival in Morpeth to commemorate the impact of the First World War.

The various displays could be viewed over four days in St James’ Church in Copper Chare.

Flower Festival at St James' Church at Morpeth (left to right) 'REF 0508142488

Flower Festival at St James' Church at Morpeth (left to right) 'REF 0508142488

They highlighted the men from Morpeth who served in the armed forces during the conflict, the contribution made by women, including the nurses and those who knitted, drove cars and ambulances and worked on the land or in factories, and the war poets among other people, whilst there was an arrangement to recognise one of the most popular songs of the Great War – Roses of Picardy.

Heaven in the Hell of War was a display where the horror of conflict was juxtaposed with a beautiful centrepiece in white which symbolised the promise of peace and there were peace trees and an avenue of white flowers leading up to the Celebration of Life display at the high altar.

Also in the church was an historical display by the Morpeth Antiquarian Society, which focused on the impact of the war on the local community.

Outside, a memorial garden was set up so visitors could place a cross in remembrance.

One of the flower arrangers, Pauline Young, said: “We received tremendous support from the people who visited the church during the festival.

“They enjoyed the displays and reading the life stories of some of the people from Morpeth who fought during World War One and those who were involved on the Home Front. Quite a few of them also told us how their families were affected.”

A special civic service of commemoration took place in the church on Sunday. The congregation were joined by representatives of Morpeth Town Council and local uniformed organisations.

On Monday, a vigil service was held between 10pm and 11pm.

One of the event’s organisers, Dave Pope, said: “The festival included live music ranging from jazz to pop, and there was a group that used Medieval instruments. All the musicians gave up their time voluntarily and visitors commented that the music added to their enjoyment of the occasion.

“On Monday night, we followed the national guidelines for lights out and candles were slowly extinguished during the service. When they were all out, we brought in one candle to represent the light of Christ.

“Immediately after the service, the church bell was tolled 234 times in tribute to the 233 men listed on the church’s war memorial plaque and once for the Unknown Soldier.”