Over 250 people – including civic and faith representatives, members of the armed forces, cadets, and the general public – gathered in Bradford Cathedral on Sunday 5th November 2023 for the 77th Bradford Festival of Remembrance.
The event, held in conjunction with Bradford Council, began with the raising of the ensign – a military flag – in the Cathedral, before there was a welcome from the Very Revd Andy Bowerman, Dean of Bradford, and Councillor Gerry Barker, the Lord Mayor of Bradford.
“[Today is] a time when we will sing together, enjoy being one another, and then take some moments to remember that, even now, we are still in the midst of much war, and much disunity across the world.”The Revd Andy Bowerman, Dean of Bradford
“Good evening everybody, it is splendid to see you all and to give you a very warm welcome to this, the 77th annual Festival of Remembrance. I am particularly pleased to welcome our veterans, serving military personnel, their families and friends. This gathering is a wonderful opportunity to show our gratitude to our Armed Forces community from Britain and the Commonwealth, for what you have done for us and for the good of others, through your service, the world over.
“With the passing of another year, Remembrancetide is with us once again, and our thoughts turn to all those who have given their lives, or suffered injury, across two world wars and in many other conflicts.”Councillor Gerry Barker, the Lord Mayor of Bradford
The programme included community singing of popular songs from the First World War for around 15-minutes, led by Martha Hayward; and then a 45-minute concert with music from the City of Bradford Brass Band, conducted by Matthew Ryan, and the Bradford Cathedral Choir, conducted by Bradford Cathedral Director of Music Graham Thorpe and, for some pieces, accompanied by Dr Ed Jones on the organ. Pieces played included ‘Upon Your Heart’; Elgar’s ‘Nimrod – Enigma Variations’; and ‘Hymn to the Fallen’ from the film ‘Saving Private Ryan’.
The Parade of Standards, introduced by Deputy Lieutenant Vicky Reynolds, followed and included flags being marched up through the Cathedral by representatives of The Royal Navy; The British Army; The Royal Air Force; The Parachute Regiment; The Royal Engineers; the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers; and The Royal British Legion (Huddersfield and Bradford branches), each introduced with their own piece of music played by the City of Bradford Brass Band. The Scouts Association was also in attendance.
A short 40-minute Service of Remembrance came next, led by The Very Revd Andy Bowerman; the Very Revd Fr Keiron Walker, Roman Catholic Dean of Bradford; and the Revd Roger Quick, the Lord Mayor’s Chaplain.
Alongside hymns and music there were prayers, read in English and other languages, as representatives from different faiths laid poppies at the feet of one of the soldier figures. There was also the Last Post, Reveille, a one-minute’s silence, and a reading of The Kohima Epitaph by two cadets.
The event finished with a blessing; the ceremonial sunset performed by the Bradford Sea Cadets from TS Aurora; the National Anthem; and refreshments.
Further services and events are happening over this period of Remembrance, and more details can be found on the Bradford Council website or Bradford Cathedral website. You’ll also be able to hear highlights from the Festival of Remembrance at 1pm on Remembrance Sunday on Premier Christian Radio.