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We will remember them: The Hero's Poppy and remembrance services this Armistice 

27 October 2020

Durham Cathedral has long been the focal point for the region as it gathers annually to commemorate the sacrifice of those who give their lives to establish freedom and peace.  Home to a chapel recalling the service of the Durham Light Infantry, prayers for all affected by war are part of the regular heartbeat of the Cathedral community.

Undoubtedly, the way we mark Armistice will be different this year, given that from 5 November there will be no public worship inside the cathedral. Instead of gathering in-person inside the church, the cathedral are calling on the local community to join together online for worship. The cathedral’s digital remembrance service and event schedule is as follows:

7 November, 7.30pm: Join with service personnel as they commemorate the sacrifice of those who gave so much during past wars and conflicts in a 30 minute digital Festival of Remembrance Concert, in aid of ABF The Soldier’s Charity (pre-recorded and broadcast to ABF The Solder’s Charity Facebook page and also shared to the cathedral’s Facebook page)  

8 November, Remembrance Sunday 

  • 8.30am: Holy Communion (live-streamed to Facebook only)
  • 10.15am: Special Service: Remembrance Sunday- This digital service will include wreath laying led by HM Lord Lieutenant of County Durham and the Mayor of Durham plus representatives of civic and military organisations
    (live-streamed to our Facebook page only - no public access)
  • 3.30pm: Choral Evensong (live-streamed to Facebook only)

11 November, 11am: Join with Durham Cathedral clergy and the rest of the nation online as they hold a two minutes silence to mark Armistice Day 2020 (this will be live-streamed to the cathedral’s Facebook page)

Lieutenant Colonel Barney Barnbrook, Regional Director North East and Yorkshire of ABF The Soldiers’ Charity said: “Even in the face of a global pandemic, it is still hugely important for us to commemorate the sacrifices of those who gave so much during past wars and conflicts. Whilst we are unable to hold our traditional Festival of Remembrance in Durham Cathedral this year, we have tried to capture the key themes of Remembrance in a virtual service to allow us to reflect on those sacrifices. It is also important for us, even in the face of extreme adversity, to show the resolve of the Nation, particularly this year, on the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War." 

The online Festival of Remembrance concert will feature music from the Band of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers accompanied by pipes from 102 Battalion REME, a special tribute to Covid-19 key workers from John Rowland, as well as a performance by the talented Youth Theatre group at Enter CIC.

While we will largely marking Armistice online this year, one thing visitors will be able to see if they come to the cathedral for private prayer and quiet reflection is the new Hero’s Poppy; a beautifully crafted floral installation that encases a single bronze penny at its centre. Based on a re-imagining of the design of the pennies sent out to families as a sorrowful reminder of their loved one’s sacrifice, the Hero’s Poppy serves as a poignant tribute to the service men and women of County Durham who have fought and served in conflict. 

Brought to you by The Remembrance Penny, the team behind the Tower of London poppy display in 2014, the poppy will be illuminated in a glass display and situated at the cathedral’s west end from the end of October. The poppy has already seen support from the man who stole the nation’s hearts, Captain (Honorary Colonel) Tom Moore, when it launched earlier this year to coincide with VE75 celebrations. 

The Reverend Canon Charlie Allen said: “I am overjoyed that Durham Cathedral have been chosen as the flagship English Cathedral to welcome The Hero’s Poppy in honour of the people of County Durham who have fought and served in any conflict. The bronze poppy is a poignant way to recall the sacrifice of many, and to renew our commitment to a future of hope and peace.”

The cathedral, in partnership with The Remembrance Penny, invite you to preserve your relative’s war legacy by uploading your personal stories to www.theremembrancepenny.com over remembrance weekend. Members of the public will be able to purchase their own Remembrance Poppies online via the website, with profits going towards charity partner, Combat Stress, the UK’s leading charity for veterans’ mental health.

For more information about the cathedral’s opening hours, installations and online services visit www.durhamcathedral.co.uk