Words: Shanai Dunglinson
Photos: Philip McConnell
This morning at Bramley War Memorial, local residents and veterans joined together to remember those who fell in the Falklands Conflict on its 40th anniversary.
The Friends of Bramley War Memorial organised the event, with chair Councillor Caroline Gruen opened the service today. She described it as: “A very solemn, very important occasion.”
The service was led by Reverend Richard Coutts, who read aloud a series of prayers and hymns for the congregation to join in with.
The hymns included ‘I Vow to Thee My Country’ and a performance of Pipe Major James Riddell’s composition, ‘The Crags of Tumbledown’. Mr Riddell wrote the music, played by York piper Rachel Blueman, during the Battle of Tumbledown and performed it after the British victory at the battle from the top of Mount Tumbledown.
Local veteran, Patrick Simpson, said:
“We’re all different, but we all support each other we are a family. A stranger is a friend you do not know.”
York Piper Rachel Blueman was in attendance today dressed as a sort of memorial herself. Rachel said:
“The kilt I’m wearing is called ancient capon, the colours are of our services. My tie is from a good friend in the RAF who died three years ago. My tie-pin is my father-in-law’s who passed away about nine years ago. My sporran and my pipes are from my original Pipe Major who taught me how to pipe. And my shirt is my dad’s old one.”
Poppy wreaths were laid at the foot of the memorial in honour of the people of the Falklands, the Scots Guards and various other groups impacted by the Falklands conflict.
Piper Blueman said:
“I know by piping for a lot of veteran events how emotive and how important it is to validate how they feel, because they are allowed to feel whatever they want to feel.
“We can open up and speak to each other about what happens so we can be educated. It’s an honour to do these, that’s why I do them.”
Rev Coutts closed the ceremony with the national anthem and a prayer for the Queen.
Chairman of the Friends of Bramley War Memorial Councillor Caroline Gruen told West Leeds Dispatch:
“Today’s service was really very solemn and emotional for many of the people that were here. For those directly involved in the Falklands conflict, particularly so.
“I could feel that the mood was very reflective. Nevertheless, people came very respectfully turned out, extremely smart, and I really felt that the work of the piper added to the event. As ever Bramley War memorial hosted an event that was relevant to local people.”