A special service to say ‘thank you’ to veterans and former service personnel was held in Luton on the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
Organised by Luton Council’s park service, the memorial event on Thursday, June 6, also celebrated the restored War Memorial in Luton Hoo Memorial Park and unveiled a plaque for the park’s newly awarded Centenary Fields Status.
Representatives from the Scouts, Brownies and Guides, members of The Friends of Memorial Park, staff, councillors and special guests, including the High Sheriff of Bedfordshire, Mrs Dolling, and local MP Kelvin Hopkins, joined the local veterans at the service.
The poignant event began with a rededication service at the memorial, presented by Reverend Kate Lomax of St Paul’s Church, Luton. The memorial was originally gifted to the people of the town by Lady Ludlow on 12 June 1920, in memory of her son Alex Pigott Wernher who was killed in action in 1916.
The parks service was fortunate to secure funding in 2017 from the War Memorials Trust to have the memorial cleaned and the lettering repainted as part of the restoration.
Veterans and ex service personnel then gave a presentation with their standards before the Centenary Fields plaque was unveiled. Working in partnership with The Royal British Legion, the Centenary Fields programme protects parks and green spaces in perpetuity to honour the memory of the millions who lost their lives in World War I. The Luton Hoo Memorial Park will now be preserved for future generations to enjoy and reflect.
Cllr Rachel Hopkins said: “I’m personally very pleased to have been part of yesterday’s celebrations. My great grandfather, Arthur Langley died in the First World War in Somme and I proudly carried his medals with me here today.
“My grandfather was one of a generation of children who may have lost a parent who served their country during the war, and so it was highly appropriate to celebrate on such an important day, and equally important that we never forget that sacrifice.
“It was wonderful to have unveiled this Centenary Fields plaque on such a special day, knowing the park will be preserved and protected for future generations of Lutonians to enjoy.”