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2018 is the Centenary of the Armistice which took effect from 11.00am on 11th November 1918, resulting in a cessation of hostilities on the Western Front in the First World War.
We commemorated the Centenary of the Armistice in Rothley with a number events, including the Casualty Walk, A Celebration of Harmony concert, and Service of Remembrance at Rothley Church.
The Roll of Honour at Rothley Parish Church was refurbished in 2018, details are provided below.
Charles Poole led the Casualty Walk and showed where our casualties grew up, and also saw some of the memorials, which were written about in Marion Vincent's book Rothley Remembers, Men & Memorials (copies are still available from Terry Sheppard for £15).
Charles was accompanied on the walk by Sam Sleath, a representative of a listed casualty, Private Sydney Feltham Bull. Sam's home in Woodgate is next door to that used by the Bull household, and was built by Sam Sleath's great grandfather Frank. Sydney Bull emigrated to Australia before WW1 but joined the Australian Infantry Force (the 'AIF'), returning to the old country only to be killed in action in France.
The walk ended at the Methodist Church on Howe Lane where there is a special plaque placed in his honour by Sydney's father Edwin Bull, a Methodist elder, in 1921. John Garratt, 92 year old nephew of Sidney Bull was present, and is pictured below with Sam Sleath as Sidney Bull.
Donations were given to The Royal British Legion.
The concent featured 33 men of the Grand Central Chorus barber shop ensemble, representing the 33 casualties listed on the Great War Reredos in the north aisle of the Rothley Church (view photo in new Window).
Private Bull appeared again in his AIF uniforn, and reading a letter from him to his parents, and called out the words of the Ode of Remembrance after the trumpet sounds the Last Post. The Chorus had a special national award winning quartet called Finest Hour, who sang two tear-jerking pieces including So Long Mother.
A Service of Remembrance was held at 10am at Rothley Parish Church, where David Wilson preached a sermon on The Respectful Roman from John 19.1-16a. An MP3 audio recording is available for download (17:32) or can be streamed online from the Sermons MP3 page. A Youth Service was also held at 10am at Rothley Centre. The two services were both followed by an Act of Remembrance at the War Memorial on Cross Green, including 2 minutes silence at 11.00am.
The restoration of the Roll of Honour during the centenary year of The Great War was the wish of the late John Sheppard DCM, who attended the church regularly and did much voluntary work for Rothley over many decades. The wooden memorial is located near the West Door (Tower).
John Sheppard consulted the Parochial Church Council (PCC) in September 2014. The PCC agreed to go ahead with the work. John died on 26th February 2015 and Frank and Marion Whitby took over the project.
The Roll of Honour in Rothley Parish Church is dedicated to 292 men from Rothley village who served in The Great War 1914-1918. It is unusual in that it records the names of all the Rothley men who served and this provides additional information for local families and researchers. The 28 names of those who died are recorded in gold lettering in the centre panel and the lettering for the 264 names on the folding wings of the memorial is in red. (It is interesting to note that the Great War Reredos in the North aisle lists 33 deaths, and when it came to reviewing the names on the Cross Green Memorial, the missing Bertie Bates was added, making 34 in total).
Over the years the lettering on the memorial had deteriorated and in some places it was difficult to read. The timber frame, centre panel and wings were also in need of repair, cleaning and protecting for the first time since it was presented by Catherine Broadhurst of Rothley Temple.
The restoration was undertaken by Belgrave Conservation which specialises in fine and decorative art conservation, is accredited by ICON (The Institute of Conservation). Work such as this requires a Faculty (or Permission) from the Diocese of Leicester. Preparing the Faculty Application papers started in spring 2017. On Monday 23 July 2018, Claire Ridley ACR and Dr Campbell Norman-Smith of Belgrave Conservation began work on the memorial. The work took 5 days. The aim of the restoration was to carry out a complete and sympathetic refurbishment which does service to this beautiful and unusual memorial.
The Roll of Honour was rededicated by Rev. Rob Gladstone during the 9am Sunday service on 28th October 2018. An MP3 audio recording of the rededication is available for download (4:48), or can be streamed online from the Sermons MP3 page.
If you would like to see the Roll of Honour, Rothley Parish Church is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday during the summer months.