Melton remembers Battle of the Somme

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A special drumhead service was the main focus of a poignant event held in St Mary’s Church to mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme.

A uniformed parade including servicemen, veterans and standard bearers and other representatives marched their way from Park Road towards the church on Sunday for the service and act of remembrance.

The Reverend Kevin Ashby leads the service with footage from The Somme as a backdrop EMN-160407-110813001

The Reverend Kevin Ashby leads the service with footage from The Somme as a backdrop EMN-160407-110813001

A drumhead service, led by the Rev Kevin Ashby, was held in the church as part of the commemorations.

Drumhead ceremonies were used during times of conflict as a point of worship when no real altar could be used. Drums were piled up and draped with standards or colours to form a ceremonial altar.

Rev Ashby said: “I think this was probably the first time a drumhead service had taken place in the church. “In the background we also had bits from the film the Battle of the Somme running on a big screen.”

A whistle was blown in the church and the Last Post sounded which was followed by a two minutes silence. The moving service also included hymns, poems, readings and a blessing. A book of remembrance and a poppy were brought into the church and youngsters brought forward cross tributes during the service.

The Melton Band led the parade from Park Road to the church EMN-160407-110158001

The Melton Band led the parade from Park Road to the church EMN-160407-110158001

Rev Ashby added: “It was an incredibly moving and meaningful service, thinking of those people who fell as individuals rather than numbers.”

After the service everyone was invited to light a candle in memory of those who died in the Battle of the Somme, those who bore scars, and families who were and continue to be affected by the battle.

Refreshments were served after the service in Melton Council’s Parkside offices.

The drumhead altar is made at the beginning of the service EMN-160407-110607001

The drumhead altar is made at the beginning of the service EMN-160407-110607001

Defence Animal Centre and Royal British Legion members march their way down Nottingham Street EMN-160407-110405001

Defence Animal Centre and Royal British Legion members march their way down Nottingham Street EMN-160407-110405001