Ryde Social Heritage Group research the social history of the citizens of Ryde, Isle of Wight. Documenting their lives, businesses and burial transcriptions.
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A moving candlelit remembrance service, led by Canon Rev Graham Morris, Vicar of All Saints Church, Ryde, was held on Tuesday 11 November at the cemetery chapel. Despite the persistent rain all day the chapel was full in the evening. Representatives from the Royal British Legion joined Canon Morris in the readings and prayers; Tom Seal, bugler, played The Last Post and everyone sung “Where have all the flowers gone?” to close the service.

During the service, which marked the end of RSHG’s Poppy Project for this year, Canon Morris blessed and dedicated our Garden of Remembrance to the memory of those servicemen and women who have given their lives in wars, in particular the 500 from Ryde who died in the First World War.

The Garden of Remembrance was made up of 500 red paper poppies, each representing one of those 500 lives lost from Ryde in The Great War. Each poppy was made by the children of local schools and youth organisations, the Military Preparation College (MPCT), visitors to Ryde Library and Ryde Cemetery and RSHG members. A special Book of Remembrance was signed by many people in the community who made poppies and those present at the remembrance service. Collections were made on behalf of the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.

After the service, tea, coffee and biscuits were served in the Cemetery Heritage and Learning Centre, where an exhibition commemorating some of the Ryde men who fought in the First World War was displayed and RSHG research folders were available to browse. The Garden of Remembrance was featured on the BBC South TV News as part of the round-up of local remembrance services on Tuesday evening.

RSHG would like to thank everyone from the community who took part in the project and the many volunteers who made it possible, especially Kate MacDonell for the ideas and inspiration behind it. Thanks also to Tom Crabtree for construction of the wooden boxes to hold the Garden of Remembrance and John Martin, Ryde Cemetery Sexton, for all his help and support throughout the poppy project.

The RSHG project ‘The Changing Face of Ryde’ will continue to document the lives of the servicemen, their families and the community throughout the First World War Centenary Commemorations and look at life in the town in the aftermath of the war. Please help us build up the picture of Ryde by adding your stories and memories to the project. Our research folders are available to browse at the Heritage and Learning Centre, Ryde Cemetery.