HISTORIC EVENT: Father Ian Grieves, centre, arrives at the service on Gainford Village Green
HISTORIC EVENT: Father Ian Grieves, centre, arrives at the service on Gainford Village Green

IT was a Remembrance Service with a difference but no less moving at Gainford on Sunday.
When the Government gave the green light to socially distanced Remembrance Sunday services, Churches Together in Gainford rallied round to put on a historic event on the green. A 10ft wooden cross from the parish church was place in the middle of the green to act as a memorial and wreaths were laid at its base. A Tommy statue, made by students of Darlington College under the supervision of Gainford resident and college tutor Chris Dawson, stood next to it.
Revd Eileen Harrop told those present: “In the war called the Great War, not only was the innocent hope of brief battle dispelled as months became years, our war-brave returned to an invisible enemy, the Spanish Flu, that claimed more than 200,000 lives.
“Loved ones who had been forced apart by the duties of war, accepted discomfort and meagre lifestyles, and resolved to find new ways to lift up their hearts. In many places, schools had to stop, and children went without formal education until it was safe, and teachers were available.
“How then did that generation rise again to battle again, another enemy, knowing the cost and sacrifice already endured?”
She said that in 2020 the “shadow of pestilence” will also fade.
The names of fallen servicemen from the village were read out before a two minutes’ silence took place, before the Last Post was played.
Churches Together in Gainford – led by Revd Eileen Harrop, Father Ian Grieves, and chairman Geoff Taylor – made sure as many community representatives as possible were involved. Deputy Lord Lieutenant Mike Poole and the Scouts were among those laying wreaths and Gainford primary pupils painted poppy pebbles, which were set out as socially distanced place markers for people to stand.
Pre-recorded versions of the National Anthem were played via speakers to meet Covid guideliness which say people should not sing. The event was also streamed on Facebook.